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Biomass-to-Ethanol Bacteria to be Used in Commercial Plant in 2006

4 May 2005

A genetically engineered E. coli bacteria that produces fuel ethanol from biomass waste such as corn stover is being used as the basis for a commercial ethanol plant currently under development.


The bioconversion technology, selected by the Department of Commerce to become Landmark Patent No. 5,000,000, is being commercialized with assistance from the Department of Energy (DOE). BC International Corp., based in Dedham, Mass., holds exclusive rights to use and license the engineered bacteria.

Lonnie Ingram, a professor of microbiology at the University of Florida and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, genetically engineered the E. coli organisms by cloning the unique genes needed to direct the digestion of sugars into ethanol, the same pathway found in yeast and higher plants. He inserted these genes into a variety of bacteria that have the ability to use all sugars found in plant material, but normally produce a worthless mixture of acetic and lactic acids as fermentation products. With the ethanol genes, the engineered bacteria produce ethanol from biomass sugars with 90%–95% efficiency.

Until we developed this new technology, the chemical makeup of biomass prevented it from being used to make ethanol economically. Biomass is a much cheaper source of ethanol than traditional feedstocks such as cornstarch and cane syrup, but the cost of processing is higher.

—Prof. Ingram

BC International plans to build a 30-million-gallon biomass-to-ethanol plant in Jennings, La, based on the genetically engineered bacteria. The plant, due to be operational by the end of 2006, will use sugarcane waste as the main feedstock.

May 4, 2005 in Biotech, Ethanol | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (1)


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» New Energy Currents: 05-20-2005 from Winds of Change.NET
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Off topic:

Oh, so the old GCC logo wasn't good enough for you anymore, Mike? ;P

Heh. I wondered if anyone would notice. :-) I’m slowly working on a redesign of the site to put more information up front...and figured I’d toss in a very small piece now.

What happens when this GM e.coli gets into someones gut? Where are the trial results?

what effects does it have on the atmosphere when used as fuel.
Ps have fun redesighning.

hi my name is bryan and i have a question. can you use any type of plant waste and use the bacteria to produce ethanol? such plant as the horse grass in hawaii that grows naturally and in abundance?

HI. Congratulations on the inventions.

I think it is great. We have many strains of baccteria E.Coli. Do you mind selling the exact strains E. Coli baccteria being used?
Plus, what is the potential Bio Hazard during transport and use? Is it airborn or malicoius?

Moreover, could you provide the ethanol yield produce using the E. Coli baccteria?

Thank you for entertaining so many questions.


Well, What is the origin source of gene which u have used?
What about the plasmid vector employed and about Type of Restriction enzyme used?
Thanx for entertaining more than one question

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As great as this seems, I can't help worry what would happen if this e. coli was accidentally released into nature.

What would be the effect of the bacteria if released into either the environment or the man's GIT system? If there's,how would u prevent it?
Well, this is a good idea of cutting down the green house effect on the planet.
Thanks Sir,
Josemichel .

are these genetically engineered E.coli available

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