A game-changer for biofuel production

(From left): Dr Li Tinggang, research fellow; Mr Zhang Chen, a PhD student; and Associate Professor He Jianzhong from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NUS are part of a team that has found that a natural bacterium isolated fro
(From left): Dr Li Tinggang, research fellow; Mr Zhang Chen, a PhD student; and Associate Professor He Jianzhong from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NUS are part of a team that has found that a natural bacterium isolated from mushroom crop residue can directly convert cellulose to biobutanol, a biofuel.PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

Scientists here are turning trash to treasure by transforming unwanted farming byproducts into fuel.

The National University of Singapore researchers have discovered how to isolate and harness a naturally occurring bacterium from mushroom crop residue. This is then used to convert cellulose, a plant-based material, to biobutanol, which can replace petrol in car engines.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2018, with the headline 'A game-changer for biofuel production'. Print Edition | Subscribe