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Predictive model a step toward using bacteria as a renewable fuel source

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A new transcriptomics-based model accurately predicts how much isoprene the bacterium Bacillus subtilis will produce when stressed or nourished. This model marks a step toward understanding how changes in the bacteria's environment affect gene expression and, in turn, isoprene production. Isoprene is a volatile liquid currently derived from oil that is used for aviation fuel and industrial applications.

Potentially, isoprene could be derived from bacteria which, like plant and animal cells, produce it in small amounts to serve important signaling and structural roles. With an eye toward maximizing isoprene production in bacteria, a team of EMSL staff and users sought to understand isoprene regulation in B. subtilis, a bacterium that naturally produces more isoprene than other microbes.

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