A research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has
discovered how to isolate and harness a naturally occurring bacterium from
mushroom crop residue that could be a new key for
production. The bacterium, Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum TG57,
was first discovered and cultured in 2015 by the research team. When added
to cellulose, the bacterium can directly convert cellulose into biobutanol,
which can be a replacement for petrol.
Traditional biofuels are usually produced from food crops, but the approach
is costly and competes with food production for environmental resources.
Unprocessed cellulosic material such as plant leaves, in contrast, are in
great abundance, environmentally friendly, and economically sustainable.
Biofuels produced from such material is expected to meet growing energy
demands without increasing greenhouse gas emissions that could result from
fossil fuel burning. This novel method by the NUS team could potentially
lead to more cost effective and sustainable biofuel production.