Tue, Sep 16, 2014, 12:11 AM EDT - U.S. Markets open in 9 hrs 19 mins

Recent

% | $
Quotes you view appear here for quick access.

Exxon Mobil Corporation Message Board

  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Aug 22, 2013 2:31 PM Flag

    Microbial Team Turns Corn Stalks and Leaves into Better Biofuel

    Microbial Team Turns Corn Stalks and Leaves into Better Biofuel

    By University of Michigan | August 22 2013

    ANN ARBOR—A fungus and E. coli bacteria have joined forces to turn tough, waste plant material into isobutanol, a biofuel that matches gasoline's properties better than ethanol.

    University of Michigan research team members said the principle also could be used to produce other valuable chemicals such as plastics.

    "We're hoping that biofuels made in such an efficient way can eventually replace current petroleum-based fuels," said Xiaoxia "Nina" Lin, assistant professor of chemical engineering and leader of the research.

    Gallon for gallon, isobutanol gives off 82 percent of the heat energy gasoline provides when burned, compared to ethanol's 67 percent. Ethanol also has a tendency to absorb water, corroding pipelines and damaging engines, but isobutanol doesn't mix easily with water. While ethanol serves as a mixer in the gasoline infrastructure today, many researchers argue that isobutanol could be a replacement.

    Equally important, this system makes isobutanol from inedible plant materials, so fuel production won't drive up food costs. Lin's team used corn stalks and leaves, but their ecosystem should also be able to process other agricultural byproducts and forestry waste.

    While much previous research has focused on trying to create a "superbug" that could tackle the whole job of processing waste plant materials into biofuels, Lin and her colleagues argue that a team of microbial specialists can do better.

    The fungus Trichoderma reesei is already very good at breaking down tough plant material into sugars. Escherichia coli, meanwhile, is relatively easy for researchers to genetically modify. James Liao's lab at the University of California-Los Angeles provided E. coli bacteria that had been engineered to convert sugars into isobutanol.

    The Lin group put both microbe species into a bioreactor and served up corn stalks and leaves. Colleagues at Michiga

 
XOM
96.29+0.51(+0.53%)Sep 15 4:00 PMEDT

Trending Tickers

i
Trending Tickers features significant U.S. stocks showing the most dramatic increase in user interest in Yahoo Finance in the previous hour over historic norms. The list is limited to those equities which trade at least 100,000 shares on an average day and have a market cap of more than $300 million.
Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
NasdaqGSMon, Sep 15, 2014 4:00 PM EDT
21Vianet Group, Inc.
NasdaqGSMon, Sep 15, 2014 4:00 PM EDT