Fill Your Tank with E. Coli


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E. coli's been the culprit for many a food poisoning, but it turns out the microbe's got some good uses, too. The company LS9, which bills itself as a “renewable petroleum company,” has just made a major breakthrough in the field of synthetic biology. They've been able to modify E. coli bacteria genetically to create fuel in a one-step process. They achieved this by amplifying and short-circuiting “E. coli'sinternal machinery for producing large fatty-acid molecules, enablingthem to convert precursor molecules directly into fuels and otherchemicals,” Nature reports.

This one-step fuel creation process will likely decrease the cost of cellulosic biofuels and also simplify fuel distribution because, unlike biodiesel, biofuels can go through the same supply chain as regular diesel. So, you may be able to fill up your vehicle with renewable energy at a decent price at your local gas station in the near future.

–Aileen Torres