A group of Korean scientists from Daejon, South Korea used metabolic engineering to create fatty acid derivatives that are shorter than normal, allowing the biosynthesis of short-chain alkanes. In other words, E. coli has been used to produce gasoline for the very first time. Continue reading for the news report and more information.
In addition to producing gasoline, this discovery also enabled researchers to produce fatty esters and alcohols with the addition of different enzymes, which means E. coli may go on to create vegetable oil, detergent and even cosmetics. One caveat: the “E. coli-to-gasoline transformation technique is still in the works and not ready to be unleashed on the world just yet, as it has only produced 580 mg of gas per liter.”