Two Microorganisms Collaborate to Increase Biofuel Production Together

Two Microorganisms Collaborate to Increase Biofuel Production Together

Researchers converted agricultural waste such as corn stover and leaves into biofuels by pairing E. coli with Trichoderma reesei.

Researchers at the University of Michigan recently published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they invented a method for producing high-quality biofuels by pairing E. coli and Trichoderma reesei to put corn stalks, leaves, and other agricultural products. Waste is converted to biofuels. This is the highest level of biofuels that can be achieved by plant conversion so far. There can be 1.88 grams of biofuel isobutanol per liter of liquid.

The researchers chose isobutanol instead of the common ethanol as a biofuel because the heat released by isobutanol was 82% and ethanol was 67%. In addition, isobutanol also does not easily corrode pipes and damage the engine.

Xiaoxia Nina Lin, assistant professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, said: “Before, people have tried many methods, including reforming the genes of certain microbial species or trying to produce fuel molecules through biodegradation, fermentation, etc. It turns out that these It is very difficult to try because they belong to different substances, so it is natural to appear in different organisms, but it is very difficult to appear in the same organism."

In this study, researchers used Trichoderma reesei to convert raw materials to sugars and convert them to the required fuels by relying on E. coli. Due to the fragility and instability of synthetic substances, cooperation between the two microbes is not an easy task. However, the key to success is to find interdependent microorganisms or, under certain conditions, allow Trichoderma reesei to cooperate with E. coli to produce sugars.

Lin Xiaoxia said: "We rely on E. coli to produce fuel, but in the system, it behaves like a 'swindler' and takes away what T. reesei produces." And T. reesei is still in the process. Benefit, because as part of the conversion of cellulose to sugar, it concentrates the food around itself.

Another advantage of this system is that it expands the range of available waste, such as wood and weeds in the forest. Researchers are currently working to improve fuel efficiency. At present, the theoretical maximum yield is 62%.

Lin Xiaoxia said: “In theory, using ethanol, people can get more than 90% of the calories. Compared with it, isobutanol is still relatively low, but this process is still worth trying, we are trying to do it. At present, this is a At the laboratory level of preliminary demonstration, but we would like to apply this technology to a wider real world, so there are many things worth doing." (Wang Linlin)

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