Navigation Links
Rutgers-Camden professor engineers E. coli to produce biodiesel

CAMDEN One mention of E. coli conjures images of sickness and food poisoning, but the malevolent bacteria may also be the key to the future of renewable energy.

Desmond Lun, an associate professor of computer science at Rutgers UniversityCamden, is researching how to alter the genetic makeup of E. coli to produce biodiesel fuel derived from fatty acids.

"If we can engineer biological organisms to produce biodiesel fuels, we'll have a new way of storing and using energy," Lun says.

Creating renewable energy by making fuels, like making ethanol out of corn, has been a common practice in trying to achieve sustainability.

However, Lun says, "It's widely acknowledged that making fuel out of food sources is not very sustainable. It's too expensive and it competes with our food sources."

One alternative is to modify the E. coli microorganism to make it overproduce fatty acids, which are used to make biodiesel.

"Fatty acid molecules aren't that different from a lot of fuel molecules," says Lun, a Philadelphia resident. "Biodiesel is something that we can generate quite easily. E. coli has been used as a lab organism for more than 60 years and it's well-studied. We know a lot about its genetics and how to manipulate it. We've got to make quite drastic changes to do it and it requires major intervention."

That's where Lun's computer science expertise comes in. Lun builds computational models of the E. coli organisms to determine what would happen if changes are made. Those changes could include removing enzymes to enhance fatty acid production.

"We call it synthetic biology," he says. "It's sort of the next stage of genetic engineering. Instead of making small changes to specific genes, we're really modifying large sections of genome. We're putting in entirely new traits rather than modifying existing traits."

Lun explains, "The unique aspect of my work is this emphasis on computational modeling as a way of guiding it. Even these simple bacteria are immensely complex. Computational modeling can offer a way to speed up the process and make it a faster, better process."

Fatty acid production in the altered bacteria would be enhanced, paving the way for biofuel development.


Contact: Edward Moorhouse
Rutgers University

Related biology news :

1. Evolution and climate change research advances at Rutgers-Camden
2. Rutgers-Camden developing enzyme function database
3. NSF grant supports Rutgers-Camden program for science majors
4. National Science Foundation grants Clemson professors award to develop nanoprobes
5. University professor stresses links between US Navy sonar and whale strandings
6. Minnesota ecology professor wins international award for biodiversity and biofuels research
7. NJIT professors research suggests changes in underwater data communications
8. 2 Alexander von Humboldt professorships go to LMU Munich
9. Top biophysics award to Professor Ray Norton
10. University of Leicester professor adds new perspective to rainforest debate
11. NJIT professor finds engineering technique to identify disease-causing genes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & ... Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border ... generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... a leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the medical imaging ... product recently added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. Photo ... ... ... News ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , a market ... opening of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it ... from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased ... and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... OTTAWA, ON (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... former DNA Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA ... joining the STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Andrew D ... Published recently in ... from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses ... care is placing an increasing burden on healthcare ... therapies. With the patents on many biologics expiring, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division of ... and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing Technology ... among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and distribution, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: