Algae: Biofuel’s new ally

By Gilberto Silber Schmidt

Labex Korea – Article published in Science Magazine (January, 19th, 2012) reports that researchers at Bio Architecture Lab (BAL), of Berkeley, United States, modified genetically the Escherichia coli bacteria to extract sugar from brown seaweeds. The major obstacle to the achievement of these algae biofuels is that bacteria do not metabolize the immediate alginate component of algae rich in sugars. The researchers’ strategy was to clone an enzyme that degrade and metabolize this substance. E. coli – bacteria found in human digestive system and in some mammals – GM could not only process the alginate but also ferment it to produce ethanol. The sugar concentrated of the algae provides a significant amount of biomass that favors their use commercially. Another bright spot: the algae are cultivated at sea and not compete space with areas of food crops.

Labex Korea by Twitter

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