Synthetic biology is a new but interesting area of biological research, able to combine science and engineering in order to design and build (“synthesize”) novel biological functions and systems.
Using synthetic biology, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are trying to develop a new bacteria similar to the tuberculosis root to produce biofuel. The biofuel research domain got very vast in a short period of time as researchers worldwide think biofuel will become the replacement of fossil fuel. Not only that biofuel is an alternative to fossil fuel but it also reduces pollution compared to it by releasing a lower quantity of CO2 into the atmosphere. The researches also try to find alternative ways to make biodiesel besides the one made from crop. Crop biodiesel has the big disadvantage of using agricultural terrains.
Rhodococcus bacteria is a soil-dwelling microbes that eats a variety of toxic compounds and sugars, releasing fats that can be converted into biodiesel. Rhodococcus is also know as being very similar to tuberculosis bacteria but the strains used to produce biofuels are not deadly or harmful to people.
MIT researchers have already developed two types of strains, one of them being able to feed on glycerol, a waste product of biodiesel production. The second strain is able to eat a mix of two types of glucose and xylose, but the final result of this discovery is not yet achieved. Engineers must still work for at least two or three years to achieving the highest possible yields but also to check what is the influence of this product in the environment.
Let’s hope for the better people, as we need a little sun on our streets as well.