Sunday, November 25, 2007

Termite Guts to the Biofuel Rescue!

"Biofuel" is seen by many as the answer to our growing and voracious fuel needs. The US is pushing corn as a source of ethanol for vehicles, but the actual environmental benefits of this have been questioned by many...

What if we could instead use material that is already considered waste - lie used paper of scrap wood? The article below shows have termites and their lovely symbionts may point towards a solution of this kind:

ScienceDaily (Nov. 25, 2007) — Termites -- notorious for their voracious appetite for wood, rendering houses to dust and causing billions of dollars in damage per year -- may provide the biochemical means to a greener biofuel future. The bellies of these tiny beasts actually harbor a gold mine of microbes that have now been tapped as a rich source of enzymes for improving the conversion of wood or waste biomass to valuable biofuels.

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