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18 : Those who create, invent and imagine our future

18 : Those who create, invent and imagine our future

This one imagines bio fuels for tomorrow

Just imagine for an instant that the future of bio fuels may lie in a simple, naturally robust bacteria adapted to industrial processes. For the time being, the so-called first generation bio fuels such as bio ethanol come from fermenting glucose, the latter being obtained after several pre-treatments and enzyme hydrolysis of biomass components such as obtained from beetroots, wheat, corn and sugar cane ...

"Deinove have decided to make the best of the exceptional capacity of a bacterium called Deinococcus radiodurans Using deinococcus allows us to change the paradigm for producing bio-fuels" explains Jacques BITON. The deinococcus has several attractive features, first of which is its ability to digest not only glucose but also a part of the biomass that is not directed fermented such as residues that we classify under the title of lingo-cellulose raw materials (forestry wastes, straw, beetroot leaves). "Deinococcus bacteria are not only capable of digesting simple sugars, but also complex polymers that we find in plant biomass but can be turned into true bacterial factories to value-add plant waste into industrial products", underlines Jacques BITON. "Among living matter Deinococcus best resists radiation, physical damage and chemical attacks. They can for example resist a radiation dose 50 000 times higher that the lethal dose for a human being. This bacterium is an excellent choice for the often drastic condition found in industrial processes". The bacterium was discovered in 1956 when experiments were under way to see if food cans could be sterilised by intense gamma radiation.

The deinococcus has a special cell structure that allows it to regenerate its genetic material and resuscitate only a few hours after dying. "A can of meat was exposed to a radiation dose seen as high enough to kill off any form of life," adds Jacques BITON. "One bacterium, the deinococcus, survived". Half a century later on, Déinove was established in 2006 to exploit this survival property and to develop innovating, ecological and economic industrial projects in the field of bio-fuels and green chemistry, by producing compounds that could prove, on one hand, attractive to industry or pharmaceutical sectors and, on the other, with better intrinsic performance and more respectful of environmental constraints. To be continued...