Bioengineered Bacteria Pump Out Fuel for CarsAlternative Energy Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
(Yahoo News)The MIT project aims to make transportation fuels 10 times more efficiently than existing biofuels derived from living organisms. Researchers swapped out the genes of the R. eutropha bacterium so that it can create isobutanol — an alcohol that can replace or blend with gasoline used by vehicles.
Many similar projects use microbes that make the biofuels within their bodies, so that researchers must kill the microbes to get the fuel out. But the MIT effort has succeeded in making the bacteria spit gasoline out into the surrounding liquid medium for easy harvesting.
The natural bacteria usually stores carbon by creating carbon polymers similar to petroleum-based plastics. Brigham and his colleagues — Jingnan Lu, Claudia Gai and Anthony Sinskey — managed to remove several genes while adding another organism’s gene so that the bacteria made isobutanol rather than the carbon polymer.