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Scientists at University of Kent and Bristol build scaffold in bacteria in breakthrough for biofuel production

By Chris Price

Scientists believe they could be about to embark on a new era of celluar engineering after managing to build a miniature scaffold inside bacteria which could help produce alternatives to fossil fuels.

Teams from the University of Kent and University of Bristol think the development could ramp up production of biofuels.

This is because it boosts cells’ ability to make nutrients, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

Scientists at the universities of Kent and Bristol have built a miniature scaffold inside bacteria that can be used to bolster cellular productivity

Scientists at the universities of Kent and Bristol have built a miniature scaffold inside bacteria that can be used to bolster cellular productivity

Researchers found they could fit up to 1,000 nano-tubes inside each cell in to generate a scaffold which increases the bacteria’s ability to make commodities.

By applying this new technology to enzymes used in the production of ethanol – an important biofuel – the researchers were able to increase alcohol production by more than 200%.

Professor Martin Warren at Kent’s School of Biosciences, who led the research team said the new process can double the efficiency of production of commodities such as biofuels.

He said: “By developing scaffolds within the cell it provides us with the opportunity to set up a miniature conveyor belt, allowing for much greater organisation at a molecular level.

“This greater organisation results in greater productivity, making the overall process much more efficient.

“I’ve just visited the world’s largest facility for using bacteria to make a biofuel and it is clear that using this kind of technology is increasingly important in helping to reduce costs and to recycle carbon in a greener, environmentally friendly way.”

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