Scientists have for the first time genetically engineered microbes to produce renewable propane, a major component of liquid petroleum gas.
Propane is considered a viable biofuel because it can more easily be separated and stored as a liquid than other fuel alternatives such as hydrogen, methane or butanol.
Patrik Jones of Imperial College London and colleagues engineered E. coli in the laboratory to produce a synthetic pathway for this fossil fuel.
Although the initial yields were low, the team was able to identify and add essential biochemical components to boost the biosynthesis reaction, enabling a specific E. coli strain to synthesise propane in considerable amounts.
The study is published in study in the journal Nature Communications.
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