Scientists have genetically engineered microbes to successfully convert biomass into fuel directly, in a first step towards industrial production.
A new research by the University of Georgia documents the direct conversion of biomass to biofuel without pre-treatment, using the engineered bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii.
Pre-treatment of the biomass feedstock – non-food crops such as switchgrass and miscanthus – is the step of breaking down plant cell walls before fermentation into ethanol.
This pre-treatment step has long been the economic bottleneck hindering fuel production from lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks.
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