facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Scientists isolate bioenergy gene

Aug. 12, 2011 at 8:24 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Isolating a gene controlling ethanol production in a microorganism could provide scientists with a missing link for bioenergy, the U.S. Energy Department said.

Scientists at the Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center found the that controls its capacity to produce ethanol gene in the microorganism Clostridium thermocellum.

Scientists use expensive enzymes for biofuel production from plants like switchgrass. The discovery of the single gene gives researchers the opportunity to experiment with genetics to coax the microorganism to produce more ethanol.

"This discovery is an important step in developing biomass crops that could increase yield of ethanol, lower production costs and help reduce our reliance on imported oil," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.

The Energy Department announced that, along with the Department of Agriculture, it awarded $12.2 million for 10 separate grants that target improvements in biofuels and bioenergy crops.

U.S. President Barack Obama had promised to add more renewable energy and advanced biofuels to the domestic energy mix. Chu said bioenergy research and development would help U.S. energy security measures.

"Biofuels, along with other advanced vehicle technologies, hold the potential to help reduce our oil imports while adding new jobs and driving wealth creation in rural America," he said.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
U.S. Air Force orders more RQ-4 Global Hawks U.S. Air Force orders more RQ-4 Global Hawks
2
Talon rocket in full-rate production for UAE Talon rocket in full-rate production for UAE
3
Hotel chain suspending sponsorship of Minnesota Vikings Hotel chain suspending sponsorship of Minnesota Vikings
4
EU, Kiev, Moscow gas talks suspended EU, Kiev, Moscow gas talks suspended
5
Chevron gas line closed after accident Chevron gas line closed after accident
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback