Making Propane From Gut-Bacteria: A UK-Finland Team Want to Say Ciao to Fracking

23/11/2015 - 3 minutes

Five genes introduced in the bacterial genome of E.coli can modify its metabolism to synthesise propane, which can be then converted to liquified petroleum gas (LPG) as an alternative source of fuel.

imperial_biofuelsEscherichia coli is a facultative anaerobe of the genus Escherichia that is commonly found in the lower intestine. An international team of researchers from Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Turku (Finland) have been using a modified strain of E. coli to synthesize propane from a glucose source.

So why do we care about being able to produce biofuels from bacteria? It’s nothing new…right? Actually, synthesizing propane from Bacteria is a big deal, setting this development apart from other (perhaps better known) biotechs which are using bacteria to alleviate fossil fuel usage. One example is Deinococcus, which is being used by the French giant Deinove, to make biofuels from organic waste materials (such as woodchip and tobacco plants).

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