University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) Studies the Use of Bacteria in the Biodiesel Production

Biodiesel, as an alternative to petroleum fuels, is on the rise. Increasingly, the government agencies have been encouraging the search for alternatives renewable sources, less polluting and from natural resources for fuel production. A research developed at the Centre for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture (CENA / USP) in Piracicaba, has been studying a most viable alternative raw material for this production: cyanobacteria.

The cianodiesel, as it is being called, is derived from cyanobacteria, microbial element of varied biotechnology applications and potential for unlimited development. The project, developed through a partnership between Dra. Marli Fátima Fiore from Cena/USP and Dr. Heizir Ferreira de Castro from Lorena School of Engineering, aim to extract the lipid which accumulates into cells of these bacteria’s to transform it in diesel oil with commercial property.

Made from vegetable and animal oils, the biodiesel mostly common result from agriculture production, which has become a concern of the current  government, because of fear of food shortages for the purpose of biofuel production.

Results – One of the biggest advantages presented by this study refers to the amount of oil that can be extracted on an industrial scale. By comparison, while corn produce 168 liters of oil per hectare planted, photosynthesizers microorganisms of bacteria can produce around 140,000 liters per hectare.

“The difference might be discrepant and has advantages compared with agricultural crops, since there is no need for cultivable land and the harvest is ongoing,” said postdoctoral Caroline Pamplona, which has been developing the research at Cena / USP laboratory.

“The nutritional requirements of the cells are simple and the period of biomass production is short and oil concentration can reach 50%. Thus, to produce biodiesel made from cyanobacteria could be an advantage,” said Caroline”.

The climate of Brazil favors the growth of cyanobacteria. “Moreover, the country presents a great diversity of potential organisms to be used as feedstock in the synthesis of biodiesel,” added the researcher”.

Source: Biomassa & Bioenergia,   January 9th, 2012.

Translated by Gilberto Silber Schmidt

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