Scientists find biofuel breakthrough in horse poop

May 2, 2013 |

In Massachusetts, LiveScience.com is reporting that scientists have discovered an anaerobic gut fungus, in horses’ waste and digestive tracts, that make enzymes to digest lignin — a protective barrier inside plant cell walls that is hard to separate from cellulose.  “It thrives on lignin-rich plants and converts these materials into sugars for the animal. It is a potential treasure trove of enzymes for solving this problem and reducing the cost of biofuels,” said Michelle A. O’Malley of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Reseatgcers at UCSB, Harvard and MIT identified hundreds of enzymes that “can break through lignin”. The team is now moving part cataloguing and is searching for the enzymes that works best and how to transfer the enzyme abilities into yeast cultures.

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Category: Research

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