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An E.coli strain makes textiles, car parts, and pharmaceuticals.

The endless possibilities of genetically engineering microbes never cease to amaze me.

"A company called Genomatica, based in San Diego, says that it can make the key ingredient in spandex from sugar, and do so at a cost that competes with current chemical processes, which use fossil fuels. It has developed genetically engineered E. coli bacteria that excrete a chemical called 1,4-butanediol, or BDO, which is used to make a number of products, including textiles, car parts, and pharmaceuticals."

Other experts predict that "the next 15 years will see a significant shift toward using biological processes to make chemical intermediates, as fossil fuels become more expensive."

Comments (1)

  1. This is potentially great news for the environment. I love reading about solutions to tough, long standing problems and being completely blown away when the answer comes out of left field like this. I mean sugar based spandex and e-coli steering wheels! I would have never guessed. I'm finding that microbiology has many of the answers to today's toughest problems, so cool.

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