New microbe strain could lower cost of biofuel production

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute have developed a strain of E. coli bacteria that can convert switchgrass biomass into fermentable sugars without the need for enzyme additives, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "This work shows that we can reduce one of the most expensive parts of the biofuel-production process, the addition of enzymes to depolymerize cellulose and hemicellulose into fermentable sugars," said JBEI CEO Jay Keasling. Read the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory news release.

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