Biofuel from biomass one step closer to reality thanks to discovery to manipulate "hot" microbes
The single most important barrier to the use of lignocellulosic
biomass such as switchgrass, populous, sorghum and miscanthus for
production of biofuels is the resistant nature of the biomass itself.
The problem lies in the conversion or degradation of complex biomass to
make products of interest.
New research from scientists at the University of Georgia who are
members of Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center (BESC)
provides a genetic method for manipulating a group of organisms, called
Caldicellulosiruptor, that have the ability to use biomass directly at
temperatures over 160 Fahrenheit. The ability to modify the microbes to
make the needed fuel products is a required first step for modern
industrial fermentations. This allows researchers to combine the
natural ability to consume renewable plant materials with an altered
improved ability to make what is needed.