Scientists have discovered a quick way to substitute gasoline and other fuels and chemicals.
Rice University, Texas engineering researchers unveiled a new method for rapidly converting simple glucose into biofuels and petrochemical substitutes, according to a university press release.
Engineering professor Ramon Gonzalez and his team of student researchers did not do what their scientific peers would have done, which is attempt to kick up the metabolic rate. They literally went in a different direction.
"Rather than going with the process nature uses to build fatty acids, we reversed the process that it uses to break them apart," Gonzalez said in the press release. "It's definitely unconventional, but it makes sense because the routes Nature has selected to build fatty acids are very inefficient compared with the reversal of the route it uses to break them apart."
The bacteria produced butanol about 10 times faster than any previously reported organism.
Butanol can be substituted for gasoline in most engines, including internal combustion engines.
The paper was published on the Web site of the science journal Nature. Gonzalez was assisted by student researchers Clementina Dellomonaco, James Clomburg, and Elliot Miller.
The research was funded by the university.