If you’re a follower of The Green Optimistic, I bet you remember the article where I was telling you how they crush micro-bugs to get the biofuel out. Well, now MIT scientists figured out a way to have bacteria producing biofuels without squishing them – just like that.
The bacterium used in the MIT experiment is called Ralstonia eutropha. David Chandler, one of the researchers, said that when they stopped feeding it certain nutrients, the bug wouldn’t grow anymore, but started producing and store complex carbon compounds (a kind of bioplastic). They even engineered a strain that produces isobutanol, a direct replacement for gasoline.
Another microbe that is being developed at the MIT is Clostridium celluloyticum, which, as you may have guessed from its name, is specialized in destroying woody plant matter and convert into isobutanol.
Chandler also says they are working on the bacteria to feed off carbon dioxide, which could, of course, be of great use in factories and industrial facilities where it could be sequestered and turned into biofuels.