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High-Octane Bacteria Could Ease Pain at the Pump: Engineered E. Coli Mass-Produce Key Precursor to Potent Biofuel

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New lines of engineered bacteria can tailor-make key precursors of high-octane biofuels that could one day replace gasoline, scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School report in the June 24 online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The same lines can also produce precursors of pharmaceuticals, bioplastics, herbicides, detergents, and more.

"The big contribution is that we were able to program cells to make specific fuel precursors," said Pamela Silver, Ph.D., a Wyss Institute Core Faculty member, Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, and senior author of the study.

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