Everyday millions of newspapers are read and then throw out or, hopefully, recycled. Instead of turning those papers into other paper products, they may be able to be used for fuel. Via Discovery News:
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Tulane University scientists discovered a strain of clostridia bacteria, dubbed “TU-103,” that can devour old newspapers to produce butanol, a substitute for gasoline.
Old editions of the Times Picayune, New Orleans’ daily newspaper, have been successfully used by the researchers to produce butanol from the cellulose in the paper. Cellulose is a structural material in plants.
TU-103 is the first bacterial strain found in nature (not genetically engineered) to produce butanol directly from cellulose. It is also the only strain yet found that can grow in the presence of oxygen. Keeping bacterial fermentation chambers air tight makes other strains more expensive to work with.
“This discovery could reduce the cost to produce bio-butanol,” said David Mullin, who’s lab discovered the bacterial strain, in a Tulane press release.