The latest innovative method to produce biofuels (at least that we know about) has arrived with bacteria. A group of UCLA scientists have manipulated a set of Eschericha coli bacteria with genetic engineering so it produces isobutanol from glucose. The technique manipulates the E. Coli's metabolic mechanisms to increase its 2-Keto Acid production levels. This component is key to synthesize isobutanol.

UCLA's Shota Atsumi, Taizo Hanai and James C. Liao state, "Compared to traditional biofuels such as ethanol, complex alcohols such as butanol or isobutanol offer serious advantages as gasoline substitutes, because of their high energy content and low humidity absorption levels."

Natural microorganisms can, indeed, produce amounts of complex alcohols. Using the genetic engineering techniques, researchers got bacteria producing them, but it wasn't a simple or cheap method to develop. Besides the E. Coli, the team expects to work with less harmful bacteria, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae.


[Source: El País]

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