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Posted Tue Dec 28 2010: from University of Illinois, via PhysOrg:
Scientists overcome major obstacles to cellulosic biofuel production
A newly engineered yeast strain can simultaneously consume two types of sugar from plants to produce ethanol, researchers report. The sugars are glucose, a six-carbon sugar that is relatively easy to ferment; and xylose, a five-carbon sugar that has been much more difficult to utilize in ethanol production. The new strain, made by combining, optimizing and adding to earlier advances, reduces or eliminates several major inefficiencies associated with current biofuel production methods.... Most yeast strains that are engineered to metabolize xylose do so very slowly. "Xylose is a wood sugar, a five-carbon sugar that is very abundant in lignocellulosic biomass but not in our food," said Yong-Su Jin, a professor of food science and human nutrition at Illinois.... "Most yeast cannot ferment xylose."... The new yeast strain is at least 20 percent more efficient at converting xylose to ethanol than other strains, making it "the best xylose-fermenting strain" reported in any study, Jin said.... The cost benefits of this advance in co-fermentation are very significant, Jin said. "We don't have to do two separate fermentations," he said. "We can do it all in one pot. And the yield is even higher than the industry standard. We are pretty sure that this research can be commercialized very soon."
[Read more stories about: GMOs, technical cleverness, alternative energy]

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'Doc Jim says:
"Co-fermentation" sounds like socialism to me.

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