Microbes need their vitamins just like people do. Vitamins help keep both organisms healthy and energetic by enabling proteins to do their work. For bacteria, a dearth of vitamins can spell death. Now scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have made a “vitamin mimic” – a molecule that looks and acts… Read more

The enzyme cellobiohydrolase I, also known as TrCel7a (pronounced tee-are-cell-seven-a) is basically a microscopic wood chipper. It’s a special enzyme, called a cellulase, that breaks down cellulose— the most plentiful natural polymer on the planet— into simple sugars. It works very slowly but, like a truck operating at a very low gear, it is extremely… Read more

In the quest for renewable fuels, scientists are taking lessons from a humble bacterium that fills our oceans and covers moist surfaces the world over. While the organism captures light to make food in a process called photosynthesis, scientists have found that it simultaneously uses the energy from that captured light to produce hydrogen. While… Read more

A desert plant, best known for producing tequila in Mexico, shows promise as a source of biofuel and other biochemical products, according to University of Adelaide research. The researchers at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls showed the agave plant could produce up to 15,000 litres per hectare a year… Read more

Although microalgae are a promising feedstock for biofuels, current methods of harvesting and dewatering them are unsustainable. Now, researchers have shown that growing the algae with certain filamentous fungi to form lichens can reduce both cost and the energy input. Biofuels produced using microalgae could play an important role in the transition from a fossil… Read more