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Cyanobacterium demonstrates promise for biotechnology feedstock production

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Harvard Medical School researchers have engineered a photosynthetic cyanobacterium to boost sugar production, as a first step towards potential commercial production of biofuels and other biotechnologically and industrially useful carbon compounds. As feedstock producers, cyanobacteria have advantages over plants, particularly land plants. They need little fertilizer. They don’t compete with food crops, because they can grow on marginal land. At commercial scale, the engineered cyanobacteria could potentially produce five times more sugar per acre than traditional crops, including sugarcane, says first author Daniel Ducat. The research is published in the April Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

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