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Is Panda Poop The Secret To Sustainable Biofuels?

Is Panda Poop The Secret To Sustainable Biofuels?

 

The development of biofuels is essential for a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system, and the waste product of one of the world’s most endangered species could be key to their development.

Biofuels like ethanol, butanol and propanol, are commonly produced by the action of microorganisms and enzymes through the fermentation of sugars or starches, which is criticized as a less-than-ethical use of crops that could otherwise be consumed as food.

The key to developing a truly sustainable biofuel rests on researchers’ ability to find a way to transform non-food biomass, like grass, sawdust or old newspapers, into an affordable fuel.

That’s why attendees at the recent national meeting of the American Chemical Society are suddenly falling in love with panda poop.

It turns out that thanks to a special microbe in its digestive tract, the panda is adept at breaking down super-tough plant materials — grasses, corn stalks and wood chips. The same materials that are perfectly suited for biofuels.

By gathering and studying samples of panda bear feces, scientists hope to be able to engineer the digestive enzymes on a large scale so plant waste could be used to make biofuels without the use of food crops like corn, sugar beets and wheat.

Related Reading:

No Silver Bullet When It Comes To Biofuels

U.S. Doctors Say Biofuels Could Kill 192,000+ People In Developing Countries

Nation’s First ‘Trashanol’ Plant Opens In Iowa

Image Credit: Flickr – istolethetv

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67 comments

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4:11PM PST on Nov 12, 2012


Earth Cry

Mother Nature Needs Us

7:53PM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

Sounds like a plan :)

7:50PM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

Thanks for the post.

2:05AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

thanks

3:54PM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

Thank you ...thank you

This will help to take out the lies about food needing to be made into fuel...The stocks and leafs will make enough fuel. You never have to use good eating food to make bio fuel.

1:27PM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

great poop idea!

2:28AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

hi hi hi hi

3:10PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Jeesh, people. Read carefully. The scientists are looking to engineer an enzyme like the one inside panda poop. Not directly use the actual poop. No bears are getting farmed. Read before you waste words getting up in arms.

12:15PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Not only should we save animals because they deserve it, they can also help us with our own problems!

9:14AM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

that's amazing, simply amazing.

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