Bacterium Could Lower Cost of Cellulosic Ethanol

Scientists say that further improvements are likely possible.

Scientists have found a bacterium that could more efficiently break down cellulose and possibly produce cellulosic ethanol more cheaply.

According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers reported engineering Thermoanaerobacterium saccharolyticum, or ALK2, a thermophilic anaerobic bacterium that ferments xylan and biomass-derived sugars to produce ethanol at a high yield. The maximum ethanol produced by ALK2, 37 g per liter, is the highest reported thus far for a thermophilic anaerobe, although the scientists said further improvements are desired and likely possible.

The results extend the frontier of metabolic engineering in that thermophilic hosts have the potential to significantly lower the cost of cellulosic ethanol production and support the feasibility of further cost reductions through engineering a diversity of host organisms.

Source: Feedstuffs

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