In the United Kingdom, scientists at the universities of Kent and Bristol have built a miniature scaffold inside bacteria that can be used to bolster cellular productivity, with implications for the next generation of biofuel production.
The research team found they could make nano-tubes that generated a scaffold inside bacteria. With as many as a thousand tubes fitting into each cell, the tubular scaffold can be used to increase the bacteria’s efficiency to make commodities and provide the foundation for a new era of cellular protein engineering.
The researchers designed protein molecules and developed techniques to allow E. coli to make long tubes that contain a coupling device to which other specific components can be attached. A production line of enzymes could then be arranged along the tubes, generating efficient internal factories for the coordinated production of important chemicals.
When applied to ethanol-producing enzymes, alcohol production increased over 200 percent.