29 Aug '11, 6pm

Panda poop could revolutionize biofuels:

Panda poop could revolutionize biofuels:

One down side of biofuels like ethanol is that they rely on easily processed crops that are also staple foods. The more farm space is given over to raising corn, soybeans, and sugar for fuels, the less is available for raising those crops to feed humans. Luckily, scientists have just discovered microbes that could help turn waste plant matter like corn stalks and wood chips into fuel. All they needed was a little bit of panda poo . Pandas, as any first-grader knows, eat basically nothing but bamboo, and bamboo is tougher to digest than the concept of President Bachmann. They make bikes out of the stuff, for crying out loud. But panda guts are full of bacteria that can pound bamboo into submission, turning the woody stalks into simple sugars. That's what you need to run a panda, and it's also what you need (plus some processing) to run a car. So adding a little bit of panda...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/list/2011-08-29-panda-poop-could-rev...

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