Zymomonas mobilis bacterium might be tricky to say, but this bioethanol-producing microbe could become a household name if Indiana University biologists have their way. The biologists claim have found a quicker, cheaper, cleaner way to increase bioethanol production in this microorganism by using the most abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere: nitrogen gas (N2
). By replacing chemical fertilizers with N2
, production costs could be slashed and cellulose ethanol derived from wood pulp made much more economically viable – so much so that the researchers believe it may compete with corn ethanol and gasoline on price.