News FocusAmerican Chemical Society Fall Meeting, 16–20 August, Washington, D.C.

Altered Microbes Make Dark-Horse Biofuels

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Science  04 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5945, pp. 1201
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1201

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If researchers can't get the sun to generate fuel directly, some hope microorganisms can finish the job. Two results reported at the American Chemical Society fall meeting pushed that hope forward. In one, bioengineers equipped photosynthetic algae with the metabolic machinery needed to make isobutanol, a potential alcohol biofuel. In the other, researchers tweaked a reluctant microbe to make large quantities of n-butanol, another commercially important chemical.