Two Stanford researchers have found a way to use E. coli to produce biodiesel fuel. Xingye Yu, a Ph.D. candidate, and Tiangang Liu, a post-doctoral student, recently used E. coli to model fatty acid synthesis in vitro, yielding fatty acid derivatives that can be converted into biodiesel.

“These findings reinforce our earlier conclusion that, among these metabolites, only the intracellular concentration of malonyl-CoA is likely to be an attractive target for further engineering, if the goal is to improve fatty acid yield and/or productivity,” Yu wrote in an email to The Daily.

There is a scene in “Back to the Future II” when Doc Brown reaches into Marty’s garbage can, pulls out a few banana peels and uses them to power his automobile-based time machine. This type of technology is not science fiction anymore.

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