Greener, cheaper technique for biofuel production from mushroom crop residue

April 7, 2018 |

In Singapore, a team of engineers from the National University of Singapore discovered that a naturally occurring bacterium, Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum TG57, isolated from waste generated after harvesting mushrooms, is capable of directly converting cellulose, a plant-based material, to biobutanol.

Associate Professor He Jianzhong from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NUS Faculty of Engineering, said, “The production of biofuels using non-food feedstocks can improve sustainability and reduce costs greatly. In our study, we demonstrated a novel method of directly converting cellulose to biobutanol using the novel TG57 strain. This is a major breakthrough in metabolic engineering and exhibits a foundational milestone in sustainable and cost-effective production of renewable biofuels and chemicals.”

The fermentation process is simple, and no complicated pre-treatment or genetic modification of the microorganisms is required. When cellulose is added, the bacterium simply digests it to produce butanol as the main product. The novel technique developed by the NUS team could potentially be a game-changing technology for cost effective and sustainable biofuel production.

 

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