New bacterial process could yield 75 billion gallons of ethanol annually

Those of you out there obsessed with using anti-bacterial soaps and lotions every ten minutes might want to think twice about killing off every microbe you find. There are plenty of beneficial microbes out there including all the ones in your gut without which you wouldn't be able to process the food you eat.
At the University of Maryland, professors Steve Hutcheson and Ron Weiner found a microbe in the nearby Chesapeake Bay that could go a long way toward making ethanol a truly viable alternative to petroleum. A marsh grass bacteria called S. degradans has an enzyme that is being used in a process developed by the pair of professors that has the potential to produce up to 75 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually. They have managed to synthesize the enzyme under the commercial name Ethazyme. Why is it so potentially powerful? Ethazyme can break down the cellulose in all kinds of biomass into sugars for fermentation.

[Source: PhysOrg]

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