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Extreme biofuels and those heat-seeking X Bugs

As President’s Day weekend approaches and people flee from the north towards sunnier climates, biofuels researchers are exploring the potential of heat-loving bacteria and fungi found in and around volcano country.

It’s two days before February’s long weekend here in the US, and already the airport at the Digest’s home in Miami is swamped with beach-goers, cruise hounds and sun-worshippers.

But its a different class of heat seekers that have our attention today, based on new research coming out of Oak Ridge on a newly-discovered bacterium that may unlock new opportunities for low-cost conversion of cellulose to affordable, sustainable biofuels.

But first, some backstory on Yellowstone, where the bacteria in question have been living amidst the volcanoes and hot springs at Obsidian Pool.

Some of the first American visitors to Yellowstone, who began to record their journeys into the wilds of northwestern Wyoming during the early 1870s, noted the horrible taste of the water from the hot springs.

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