Queensland researchers are persuading baker’s yeast to produce jet fuel from sugar.
Timothy Brennan and his colleagues at The University of Queensland have helped genetically engineered yeast evolve to make an oil called limonene, which is found naturally in lemons and oranges, and also happens to be an efficient jet fuel.
While there are plenty of researchers already producing small amounts of yeast-derived biofuels around the world, one common limitation is that production volumes are limited by the toxicity of the fuel.
Tim and his colleagues redesigned a bioreactor, so fuel is removed immediately after it’s produced by the yeast. This allows the yeast to tolerate up to 700 times more fuel than it would in a traditional bioreactor.