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Self-Destructing Bacteria Could Be the Key to Better Biofuels
Posted By Ariel Schwartz On December 9, 2009 @ 5:20 pm In Green Transportation,Renewable Energy | 1 Comment
Normally we don’t advocate self-destruction, but in the case of biofuel-producing bacteria , it might be a good thing. Researchers at Arizona State University  have genetically engineered cyanobacteria  that dissolve from the inside out, making it easy to access the high-energy fats and biofuel byproducts located within. The development could be tremendously beneficial for fuel production, since cyanobacteria are photosynthetic microbes (AKA pond scum) that have a higher yield potential than most biofuels currently being used.
The ASU researchers combined cyonabacteria material with genes from the bacteriaphage — a so-called “mortal enemy” of bacteria that cause it to explode — to create a new form of cyanobacteria that uses bacteriaphage-like enzymes to dissolve its membranes from within. Previously, scientists had to use a number of cost-intensive steps to access the fats located inside cyanobacteria’s burrito-like protective membranes.
It will probably be a long time before we see biofuels created from the ASU  system on the market, but eventually the process could lead to cheaper biofuels  — all thanks to some lowly, self-destructive pond scum.
Via Greenbang 
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 biofuel-producing bacteria: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/09/29/researchers-generate-biofuel-from-tuberculosis-bacteria/
 Arizona State University: http://www.asu.edu/
 cyanobacteria: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanobacteria
 biofuels: http://www.inhabitat.com/tag/biofuel/
 Greenbang: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/asu-sbi120709.php
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