Bacteria may affordably turn plants into biodiesel.

AuthorBlock, Ben
PositionEYE ON EARTH - Brief article

U.S. researchers have announced progress in converting plant sugars directly into biodiesel by modifying the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacterium. The creation of biofuel straight from Brazilian sugar cane has been hailed as a "milestone" in producing lower-cost biofuels.


"The fact that our microbes can produce a diesel fuel directly from biomass with no additional chemical modifications is exciting and important," said project leader Jay Keasling of the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute. "We believe our results can significantly contribute to the ultimate goal of producing scalable and cost-effective advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals."

Scientists previously had been aware of E. coli's ability to synthesize fatty acids, key ingredients in forming biofuels...

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