Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol – Times Online
Speaking of energy independence, saying “this could alter the oil/fuel/energy landscape” would be a tremendous understatement!
“Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”. After that, he grins, “it’s a brave new world”. “
What’s most remarkable about this is crude oil (which can be refined into other products, such as petroleum or jet fuel) is only a few molecular stages removed from the fatty acids normally excreted by yeast or E. coli during fermentation, it does not take much fiddling to get the desired result.
Additionally, for fermentation to take place you need a raw material, or feedstock. Anything will do as long as it can be broken down into sugars, the resulting byproduct ideally would be capable of burning to produce electricity to run a power plant, or engine.
E. Coli is even used in the pharmaceutical industry to produce medications, such as insulin for diabetics.
This is remarkable! Read the entire story here.