Molecular Switch for Cheaper Biofuel

Many different fungal strains are used at the Vienna University of Technology. (Credit: Image courtesy of Vienna University of Technology, TU Vienna)

Molecular switch for cheaper biofuel

Lignocellulosic waste such as sawdust or straw can be used to produce biofuel — but only if the long cellulose and xylan chains can be successfully broken down into smaller sugar molecules. To do this, fungi are used which, by means of a specific chemical signal, can be made to produce the necessary enzymes. Scientist have now genetically modified fungi in order to make biofuel production significantly cheaper.

 

June 3, 2013 — Lignocellulosic waste such as sawdust or straw can be used to produce biofuel — but only if the long cellulose and xylan chains can be successfully broken down into smaller sugar molecules. To do this, fungi are used which, by means of a specific chemical signal, can be made to produce the necessary enzymes. Because this procedure is, however, very expensive, Vienna University of Technology has been investigating the molecular switch that regulates enzyme production in the fungus. As a result, it is now possible to manufacture genetically modified fungi that produce the necessary enzymes fully independently, thus making biofuel production significantly cheaper.

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603092326.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmatter_energy%2Forganic_chemistry+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Matter+%26+Energy+News+–+Organic+Chemistry%29

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