Better Biofuel Process Beckons

One-pot technique using engineered bacteria could potentially lower production cost.

Frederic and Mukhopadhyay JBEI Green Chem mn

A process that uses engineered bacteria to streamline production could make biofuels a viable competitor to fossil fuels, believe researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), Berkeley, Calif. The E. coli they engineered tolerates the liquid salt (ionic liquids) used to deconstruct plant biomass into sugary polymers. The bacteria eliminates the need to remove the liquid salt, as ordinarily is required, allowing a one-pot method for producing advanced biofuels. “Being able to put everything together at one point, walk away, come back, and then get your fuel, is a necessary step in moving forward with a biofuel…

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