Friday, April 25, 2008

University of Texas Turns Microbes Into Ethanol!

Morning All!

Proof of concept is a very important thing. It demonstrates that a process can be made commercially viable, that is, if the right people are willing to invest time and energy into it.

Researchers in Texas have just discovered a process whereby microbes can be converted into ethanol. With headlines everywhere yelling about global food prices rising because of the amount of corn used to make biofuels, this new process could be a godsend.

Read all about it:

New Source for Biofuels Discovered by Researchers At The University of Texas at Austin

"AUSTIN, Texas — A newly created microbe produces cellulose that can be turned into ethanol and other biofuels, report scientists from The University of Texas at Austin who say the microbe could provide a significant portion of the nation's transportation fuel if production can be scaled up.

Along with cellulose, the cyanobacteria developed by Professor R. Malcolm Brown Jr. and Dr. David Nobles Jr. secrete glucose and sucrose. These simple sugars are the major sources used to produce ethanol.

"The cyanobacterium is potentially a very inexpensive source for sugars to use for ethanol and designer fuels," says Nobles, a research associate in the Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

R. Malcolm Brown Jr. and David Nobles Jr.
Dr. R. Malcolm Brown (left) and Dr. David Nobles with one of the cyanobacterial strains that produces cellulose and glucose. Photo: Richard Santos

Brown and Nobles say their cyanobacteria can be grown in production facilities on non-agricultural lands using salty water unsuitable for human consumption or crops."

Every little bit of good news is like sweet sweet nectar to this thirsty hummingbird.

Love to all,

Team SF

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