Georgia Tech researchers Pamela Peralta-Yahya and Stephen Sarria examine the production of the hydrocarbon pinene in laboratory test tubes (Photo: Georgia Tech/Rob Felt)
By placing colonies of E. coli engineered to produce pinene into test tubes containing glucose, researchers were able to determine which enzyme combinations produced the hydrocarbon most efficiently (Photo: Georgia Tech/Rob Felt)
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered a bacterium that could yield a new source of high-energy hydrocarbon fuel for rocketry and other aerospace uses. High-energy, specific-use hydrocarbon fuels such as JP-10 can be extracted from oil, along with more commonly used petroleum fuels, but supplies are limited and prices are high – approaching US$7 per liter. That’s where the new bacterium, engineered by Georgia Tech scientists Stephen Sarria and Pamela Peralta-Yahya, could come in.
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