Crop Biotech Update

Berkeley Lab-Led Team To Use Tobacco for Biofuels

March 2, 2012

A group of scientists led by Christer Jansson, a plant biochemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab, is seeking ways to manufacture biofuels by engineering tobacco plants to produce fuel molecules in their leaves. The group estimates that one million gallons of fuel could be produced from about 1000 acres of tobacco.

Jansson and colleagues aim to create a shortcut in the conversion of solar energy into biofuel. "We want to bypass downstream processes like fermentation and produce fuels directly in the crop," says Jansson. "After the biomass is crushed, we could extract the hydrocarbon molecules, and crack them into shorter molecules, creating gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel."

Read the rest of the story at http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2012/02/23/tobacco-biofuels/.