Department of Energy wants to put bacteria to work

The DOE is partnering with the Washington University in St. Louis to sequence the DNA of six photosynthetic bacteria. Funding of $1.6 million is being devoted to the project based on the potential for these bacteria to be a great source of biofuel in the future. The potential exists for microscopic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) to capture sunlight and then produce clean ethanol via a biochemical process.

The six strains that have been identified are related but come from different environments including Taiwan, India and deep ocean. It is felt that by combining different characteristics from these strains, a more efficient form of metabolised bioenergy can be derived. Cyanobacteria utilise carbon dioxide as their primary cellular carbon source and ferment without the need for added yeast to produce ethanol as is required with regular biomass.

[Source: Oilgae]

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