Unlocking Seaweed’s Next-Gen Crude: Sugar (The New York Times)

Brown seaweed

Fast-growing, sugar-rich seaweed has much to offer as a biomass feedstock. (Image credit: Flickr user Rhys Asplundh)

Seaweed often brings to mind thoughts of surf and sushi, not fuel. But that could change if a biotechnology start-up called Bio Architecture Lab succeeds in building a new kind of energy company from designer bacteria and a low-cost process for harvesting seaweed.

The key is a genetically modified strain of Escherichia coli bacterium, which can break down the sugars in brown seaweed, or macro-algae, to produce ethanol, according to new research published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

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