Termites could be the next frontier in cellulosic ethanol production

No one said it was going to be easy, but did anyone say making ethanol was going to be this creepy? If researchers at Diversa Corporation can finish what has become promising research, then getting cellulosic ethanol to the consumer market will be due to an unusual reason: termite guts.
Scientists at the biotech company Diversa have been dissecting thousands of termite intestines looking for and then isolating the enzymes that break down the cellulose in the wood the insects eat. The company says they have been able to reenact the cellulose-degrading process with a cocktail of high-performance enzymes. This is good, because termites are amazingly efficient, converting 95 percent of what they consumer into energy within a day. The research is still in the early phases, but it makes sense that learning from a natural process that has been evolving for millions of years just might give us the answers we need. Just wish it didn't give me the willies.

[Source: Renewable Energy Access]

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