The New Role of Microbes in Bio-Fuel Production




Currently biofuel is produced from plants as well as microbes. The oils, carbohydrates or fats generated by the microbes or plants are refined to produce biofuel. This is a green and renewable energy that helps in conserving fossil-fuel usage. But a new research has led to a new discovery of getting the microbes to produce fuel from the proteins instead of utilizing the protein for its own growth. The research is being done at the premises of University of California in Los Angeles.

The focus of the experiment was to induce the microbes under the study to produce a specific kind of proteins rather than what they otherwise might be inclined to produce. This special protein can be refined in to biofuel. The task is to make the microbes produce only this kind of protein rather than utilizing it for their own growth and growth related activities as they otherwise do.

This kind of biofuel production is different from the traditional behavior of microbes where they use the protein only for growth. This is like tricking the microbes to deviate from that and produce fats or material that can be converted to biofuel. In the words of UCLApostdoctoral student and lead researcher, Yi-xin Huo -”We have to completely redirect the protein utilization system, which is one of the most highly-regulated systems in the cell.”

The Nature Biotechnology Sunday issue has published the team’s findings. The team hopes that their findings will rewrite biofuel production by inundating the field with protein eating microbes which will generate fats and substances that can be converted into biofuel. The microbes will feed on proteins that are not fit for animal consumption and keep producing special proteins for biofuel conversion and later can become a better type if fertilizer with less nitrogen and nil harmful greenhouse emissions.


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