Dec 21, 2008

Holy Shit! This Critter May Just Save The World. And the ICE

The beast in the picture sits in what’s commonly called your “lower intestinals.” And the butt-ugly critter may just be the answer to our energy problems. Bacteria that live in your digestive tracts, and that can give you the runs, can be genetically modified to eat plants and then shit out jet fuel, high grade gasoline and other petroleum products. According to a CBS report, this was proven by a team of UCLA researchers.

The oil we use so abundantly was made by bacteria also. Problem is, it took them millions of years. A few years ago, bacteria were trained to hurry up, munch plants and excrete the equivalent of low grade diesel. Nothing new to that: For centuries, bacteria were used the same way to make ethanol, hooch, or Taittinger champagne. But that’s all low-grade stuff with only two carbon atoms per molecule. The greater the number of carbon atoms, the greater the energy density of the fuel. The UCLA researchers already made their coli bugs excrete fuel with five carbon atoms per molecule. Alcohol molecules with eight carbon atoms may also be possible, they report in this month’s edition of the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That, my friends, means bacteria that shit out straight gasoline.

“We wanted to create larger, longer-chain molecules because they contain more energy,” the team wrote in the science journal. “This is significant in the production of gasoline and even jet fuel.” The new E. Coli bugs would be unleashed on organic material. And if they succeed, they could give huge amount industries and boondoggle projects a big case of diarrhea. Will the internal combustion engine be saved by a bug that’s at home in our ass?