With dwindling gasoline reserves, the search for more renewable energy sources has been ongoing for quite some time, with scientists looking at the possibility of heavy alcohols like isobutanol as alternative sources of energy. Apart from being more compatible with current gasoline based infrastructure, they also provide more energy when compared to ethanol. However, before the use of isobutanol becomes practical, there is a need for scientists to figure out a way of producing it from renewable resources on large scale.
Biologists and chemical engineers from MIT have come up with a way to drastically increase isobutanol production in yeast. The scientists engineered the yeast such that isobutanol synthesis occurs entirely in mitochondria (the cell structures which produce energy and host numerous biosynthetic pathways). Through the use of this approach, the scientists achieved a 260% boost in isobutanol production. Read the full story