Producing fuels from biomass using microorganisms from the cow’s stomach
Microorganisms that reside in the gut of herbivores, including the microorganisms that live in the rumen of cattle, can be used to degrade plant fiber to intermediates that can be converted to fuels. Furthermore, these organisms can also produce biofuels including hydrogen, methane, ethanol and electricity directly from biomass.
We intend to develop methods using microorganisms from the cow’s rumen and conditions that shift the fermentation to alter the profile of end products as desired. The experiments that are being undertaken demonstrate the feasibility of using gut microorganisms in bioreactors to convert biomass to desired biofuels.