Australian biotech company MicroBioGen has successfully demonstrated the production of both high-protein food and low carbon bioethanol from non-food material using a single biological agent.
The breakthrough follows 15 years of research and development in MicroBioGen’s high-tech laboratories in Sydney to enhance a genetically-modified version of the common yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
It comes as the Federal Government steps up its effort to source new and innovative technologies to help achieve a net-zero-carbon economy. MicroBioGen’s technology, developed in Australia in collaboration with its global partner Novozymes, provides a technological solution to the problem of producing low-carbon fuels while also increasing food production.
Funded in part with a $4 million (€2.5 million) grant from the Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), MicroBioGen’s work will boost the role of second-generation (2G) biofuels in reducing carbon emissions and improving food security by enabling food and fuel production from abundant, low-value waste plant material.
MicroBioGen CEO Geoff Bell said the company’s project was a game-changer that dramatically improved the commercial viability and environmental performance of biofuels.
“For the first time ever, a single yeast strain – optimised using our proprietary technology – can produce both clean fuel and food from non-food biomass,” he said.
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