Gallery: Cheese-Making Bacteria Could Be Used to Produce Biofuels

 

A team at Concordia University recently discovered a novel way to produce sustainable biofuels using bacteria commonly used to transform milk into cheese. According to the study, professors Vincent Martin and his PhD student Andrew Wieczorek believe that the bacteria Lactococcus lactis, could digest plant matter to turn it into biofuel. In their study, the two Concordia researchers describe how the bacteria maintains specific structural and scaffolding proteins that can help in the breaking down of biological material.

“This is the first study to show how the scaffolding proteins, can be secreted and localized to the cell surface of Lactococcus,” says Dr. Martin, who is also Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics and Engineering. He continues, “Exporting these proteins and localizing them to the outside of the cell is a huge milestone. This can enhance the efficiency of any bio-processes or the breakdown of organic materials.”

Martin also added that the bacteria could play a “key step in the development of recombinant microorganisms capable of … direct conversion of cellulosic substrates into fuels.”

The new study, published in the latest issue of the Microbial Cell Factories journal, also details how the skeletal proteins of the lactic bacterium are able to bond with multiple compounds. The next stage of the process is to see if the bacteria’s proteins can be used to create other bio-processes are able to give way to efficient and clean biofuels.

+ Microbial Cell Factories

Via Fast Company

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  1. Steve Stillwater December 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Not immediately obvious to em why this organism would be better than those already heavily engineered and optimized to produce biofuels, whether butanol, terpenes, or even ethanol. And the best source of biofuels is waste cellulosic material: http://livinggreenandsavingenergy.com/biofuels-and-renewable-energy-what-is-a-biofuel-anyway.html

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