Five Ways Researchers Use Microbes to Make Energy

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"Researchers are working on multiple ways that microorganisms, specifically bacteria, can be used to create energy."

microbes energy

Business Insider, Jennifer Welsh

Researchers are working on multiple ways that microorganisms, specifically bacteria, can be used to create energy.

Here are a few ways they are harnessing the billions of years of microbial evolution to make energy cleaner and more reliable.

A group at MIT is working to train microbes that usually make bioplastics to make a fuel called isobutanol, which can be directly substituted for or mixed with gasoline.

The team, whose research was recently published in the journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, has programmed the microbes to make a fuel instead of their natural carbon compounds. When the bacteria, called Ralstonia eutropha, are put in a nutrient-poor environment, they start making carbon-based compounds that they can store and break down as an energy source later.

"What it does is take whatever carbon is available, and stores it in the form of a polymer, which is similar in its properties to a lot of petroleum-based plastics," study researcher Christopher Brigham said in a statement from the university. . .View Full Article

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