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Genetic Modification Saves Energy

June 28th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Fuel-Research

Researchers at Arizona State University have found a way to harvest oil from cyanobacteria, the photosynthesizing blue-green algae. After being reprogrammed, the cyanobacteria act like miniature biofuel factories, continuously leaking fatty acid oil through their cell walls. The oil separates from the bacteria and becomes a floating, whitish residue. Researchers induced the microbes to focus purely on survival and fat production, which caused a threefold increase in fatty acid oil yield. The modified cyanobacteria produce more energy than other biofuels, such as corn, and require only the sun for its own energy needs. Because microbes don’t need to be grown in fields, large swaths of valuable cropland currently devoted to biofuel production could be reserved for food production.

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