Genetic Engineering Turns Bacteria Into Car Fuel
The MIT project aims to make transportation fuels 10 times more efficiently than existing biofuels derived from living organisms. Researchers swapped out the genes of the R. eutropha bacterium so that it can create isobutanol — an alcohol that can replace or blend with gasoline used by vehicles.
“We’ve shown that, in continuous culture, we can get substantial amounts of isobutanol,” said Christopher Brigham, a biologist at MIT.
Many similar projects use microbes that make the biofuels within their bodies, so that researchers must kill the microbes to get the fuel out. But the MIT effort has succeeded in making the bacteria spit gasoline out into the surrounding liquid medium for easy harvesting.
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