Illinois food science and human nutrition professor Yong-Su Jin (center), postdoctoral researcher Suk-Jin Ha (left), graduate student Soo Rin Kim and their colleagues engineered a yeast that outperforms the industry standard in the production of ethanol from cellulosic biomass. The effort involved researchers at Illinois, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California at Berkeley, Seoul National University and the oil company BP. Photo credit: L. Brian Stauffer, U. of I. News Bureau
The biofuel industry stands to benefit from the development of a new variety of yeast which produces ethanol from plant products more efficiently. Engineered by combining two existing yeast species, the new strain can simultaneously consume two types of sugar commonly found in plants to produce ethanol.