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Gut microbe makes diesel biofuel

Welding bits and pieces from various microbes and the camphor tree into the genetic code of Escherichia coli has allowed scientists to convince the stomach bug to produce hydrocarbons, rather than sickness or more E. coli. The gut microbe can now replicate the molecules, more commonly known as diesel, that burn predominantly in big trucks and other powerful moving machines.

"We wanted to make biofuels that could be used directly with existing engines to completely replace fossil fuels," explains biologist John Love of the University of Exeter in England, who led the research into fuels. "Our next step will be to try to develop a bacterium that could be deployed industrially." Love’s work was published April 22 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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