Synthetic Biology: Making Diesel Fuel From Yeast

Put Down Oil Drill, Pick Up The Test Tube: Making Fuel From Yeast 
June 28, 2013
http://www.npr.org/2013/06/28/188431312/put-down-oil-drill-pick-up-the-test-tube-making-fuel-from-yeast

synthetic biology — genetic engineering taken to a whole new level.

His most successful project to date: Jay Keasling and his team inserted or tweaked a dozen genes in yeast cells and turned them into tiny factories that churn out a partially synthetic version of artemisinin, a key drug in the leading treatment of malaria. (The usual source of artemisinin is a tree known as sweet wormwood, and there are not enough to meet the global demand.)

And now Amyris, one of the companies Keasling founded, “has a factory in Brazil that’s using the engineered yeast, taking in sugar and spitting out a product that’s a diesel fuel,” Keasling says. Already, that diesel is in buses in Rio and Sao Paulo.

There is, of course, a catch: “This diesel is still more expensive than petroleum-based diesel by quite a long shot.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s