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Bioengineers Develop Bacterial Strain to Increase Ethanol Biofuel Production
ScienceDaily (Dec. 10, 2010) — A team of bioengineers in the United States has modified a strain of bacteria to increase its ability to produce ethanol. The research, published in Biotechnology and Bioengineering, reveals how adaptation and metabolic engineering can be combined for strain improvement, a positive development for the biofuel industry.
The team focused their research on Zymomonas mobilis, a bacterium noted for its bio-ethanol producing potential. However, the team believed that ethanol production could be increased through improvement of xylose fermentation.
“Zymomonas mobilis is a superb ethanol producer with productivity exceeding yeast strains by several fold,” said lead author Rachel Chen from the Georgia Institute of Technology. “In this study we sought to improve ethanol production by enhancing the ability of Z. mobilis to use and ferment xylose. Fermenting xylose at high concentration could in turn increase ethanol concentration, resulting in much improved productivity.”