Biotech Updates

University of Florida researcher develops genetically engineered E. coli for conversion of plant residues to ethanol

November 10, 2006

A scientist from the University of Florida has developed a genetically engineered E. coli which is capable of converting all sugar types found in plant cell walls into fuel ethanol. The organism is said to have high ethanol yields from biomass such as sugarcane residues, rice hulls, forestry and wood wastes. Professor Lonnie Ingram, of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (University of Florida), said that he cloned unique genes for direct digestion of sugars into ethanol (the same pathway found in yeast and higher plants) into E. coli. Plans for using the organism for commercialization with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy are underway..