Cyanobacteria producing ethanol or hydrogen – natural gene transfer could make this possible (Photo: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT)
Cyanobacteria hardly need any nutrients and use the energy of sunlight. Bathers are familiar with these microorganisms – often incorrectly called “blue-green algae” – as they often occur in waters. A group of researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has discovered that the multicellular species Phormidium lacuna can be genetically modified by natural transformation and could thus produce substances such as ethanol or hydrogen.
A possible future-oriented application would be to synthesize ethanol, hydrogen or lactate as well as other bioproducts in the cells and thus contribute to the bio-economy and to the change from an oil-based economy to a market economy based on sustainable resources.
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