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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Biologists have figured out how to get alcohol out of thin air


A group of researchers led by Professor Daniel Nocera of Harvard University led the bacterium is able to convert airborne carbon dioxide and the hydrogen in the alcohol-containing substances. Although the resulting bacteria are unlikely to solve global environmental problems, with their help you can save some amount of fossil fuels, the researchers suggest.


photo: morguefile.com

Methods of genetic engineering, experts managed to create a bacterium that feeds on the hydrogen from water and carbon dioxide from the air and produces isopropanol, Isobutanol and izopentanol. Each of these alcohols can be used as fuel. Scientists gave the resulting bacteria name Ralston eutropha.

Daniel Nocera told that experts originally planned to create a bacterium that would produce adenosine triphosphate, a substance produced by plants and is necessary for the life of many creatures. Subsequently, the bacterium was able to “improve” by adding new genes and forcing to allocate alcohols. According to the scientist, in the course of the day created by him and his colleagues bacteria capable of processing 500 times more carbon dioxide than is their own mass, and every 237 kilograms of gas processed in this way, will produce a kilowatt-hour of energy. Moreover, these bacteria are able to multiply rapidly, so that over time their use becomes just more efficient.

However, at the same time to solve the problems the humanity’s energy and environmental challenges bacteria will not be able, say its creators: when the alcohols produced with it, are burned, carbon dioxide will re-enter into the air. However, the main plus of these alcohols before fossil fuel scientists see that they represent do not constitute an irreplaceable resource, and their production by bacteria does not require much effort.

New bacteria an article published in the journal Science, one of the most prestigious to date scientific publications.

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