Photo of Min Zhang

Min Zhang

Researcher V-Molecular Biology


Research Interests

  • Using a systems biology approach to identify, analyze, and engineer pathways involved in bacterial, yeast, and fungal hydrocarbon and biochemical production

  • Biological upgrading of sugars

  • Directed microbial conversion/consolidated bioprocessing

  • Pentose sugar utilization

  • Hydrolysate toxicity

Affiliated Research Programs

  • Anaerobic Hydrocarbon Intermediates from Zymomonas mobilis (PI)

  • Targeted Microbial Development/Advanced Concepts for Producing Hydrocarbons (PI)

Areas of Expertise

  • Metabolic engineering

  • Molecular biology

  • Microbial physiology

  • Systems biology

  • Fermentation development

  • Enzyme and protein engineering


  • Ph.D., Engineering, Osaka University, Department of Biotechnology, 1989

  • M.S., Engineering, Osaka University, Department of Biotechnology, 1986

  • B.S., East China University of Science and Technology, Biochemical Engineering, 1982

Professional Experience

  • Scientist V, Task/Project Leader, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), National Bioenergy Center, 2010–present

  • Senior Scientist I and II, Leader, Strain Development Team, NREL, 19972010

  • Staff Scientist, NREL, 19921997

  • Research Associate, University of Michigan, Department of Chemical Engineering, 19901992

  • Research Scientist, Institute for Biomedical Research, Suntory Limited, Osaka, Japan, 19891990


  1. "Biocatalysts with enhanced inhibitor tolerance," U.S. Patent Application No. 20140342421 (2014)

  2. "L-Arabinose-Fermenting Yeast," U.S. Patent No. 8,372,626 (2013)

  3. "Xylitol synthesis mutant of xylose-utilizing zymomonas for ethanol production," U.S. Patent No. 7,741,119 (2010)

  4. "Ethanol production in fermentation of mixed sugars containing xylose," U.S. Patent No. 7,629,156 (2009)

  5. "Method of inactivation of an end product of energy metabolism in Zymomonas mobilis," U.S. Patent No. 7,374,939 (2008)

  6. "Stable Zymomonas mobilis xylose and arabinose fermenting strains," U.S. Patent No. 7,354,755 (2008)

  7. "Zymomonas pentose-sugar fermenting strains and uses thereof," U.S. Patent No. 7,223,575 (2007)

  8. "Recombinant Zymomonas mobilis with improved xylose utilization," U.S. Patent No. 6,566,107 (2003)

  9. "Single Zymomonas mobilis strain for xylose and arabinose fermentation," U.S. Patent No. 5,843,760 (1998)

  10. "Recombinant Zymomonas for pentose fermentation," U.S. Patent No. 5,514,583 (1996)

Featured Publications

  1. "Engineering Towards a Complete Heterologous Cellulase Secretome in Yarrowia lipolytica Reveals its Potential for Consolidated Bioprocessing," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2014)

  2. "Insights Into Acetate Toxicity in Zymomonas mobilis 8b Using Different Substrates," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2014)

Additional Publications

  1. "Improving a Recombinant Zymomonas mobilis Strain 8b through Continuous Adaptation on Dilute Acid Pretreated Corn Stover Hydrolysate," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2015)

  2. "Insights into Acetate Toxicity in Zymomonas mobilis 8b Using Different Substrates," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2014)

  3. "Heterologous Expression of Xylanase Enzymes in Lipogenic Yeast Yarrowia lipolytica," PlOS ONE (2014)

  4. Inhibition of Growth of Zymomonas mobilis by Model Compounds Found in Lignocellulosic Hydrolysates," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2013)

  5. "Genomic, Proteomic, and Biochemical Analyses of Oleaginous Mucor Circinelloides: Evaluating its Capability in Utilizing Cellulolytic Substrates for Lipid Production," PLOS ONE (2013)

  6. "Techno-Economic Analysis and Life-Cycle Assessment of Cellulosic Iso-Butanol and Comparison with Cellulosic Ethanol and n-Butanol," Biofpr Journal (2013)

  7. "The Impacts of Deacetylation Prior to Dilute Acid Pretreatment on the Bioethanol Process," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2012)

  8. "Improved Ethanol Yield and Reduced Minimum Ethanol Selling Price (MESP) by Modifying Low Severity Dilute Acid Pretreatment with Deacetylation and Mechanical Refining: 2) Techno-Economic Analysis," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2012)

  9. "Elucidating Acetate Tolerance in E. coli Using a Genome-Wide Approach," Metabolic Engineering (2011)

  10. "Role of Pretreatment and Conditioning Processes on Toxicity of Lignocellulosic Biomass Hydrolysates," Cellulose (2009)

  11. "Development of a High-Throughput Method to Evaluate the Impact of Inhibitory Compounds from Lignocellulosic Hydrolysates on the Growth of Zymomonas mobilis," Journal of Biotechnology (2009)

  12. "Butanol Tolerance in a Selection of Microorganisms," Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2009)

  13. "Utilization and Transport of L-arabinose by Non-Saccharomyces Yeasts," Cellulose (2009)

  14. "Development of an Arabinose Fermenting Zymomonas mobilis Strain by Metabolic Engineering," Applied and Environmental Microbiology (1996)

  15. "Metabolic Engineering of a Pentose Metabolism Pathway in Zymomonas mobilis," Science (1995)

View all NREL Publications for Min Zhang.

Please contact me with research questions, ideas for collaborations, and questions about biological conversion of biomass sugars to biofuels and chemicals. Please do NOT contact me directly for jobs—see instead information on NREL's Director's Postdoctoral Fellowship program, highlighted jobs on the Biochemical Conversion Program page, or on NREL Careers in general.