Baltimore, MD - Pandas from the Memphis zoo could actually contribute to the develop of new biofuels of the future.
Scientists have identified 4 microbes living in the guts of giant pandas that could make biofuel production from plant waste easier and cheaper. Ashli Brown from the Mississippi state university who leads this new research says panda feces might actually be a solution in the search for sustainable new sources of energy. Not only is the research beneficial for the planet but can also provide new information for keeping giant pandas healthy.
Pandas are currently an endangered species on the planet.
The United States currently uses Ethanol made from corn as the "go to" alternative fuel however, with the shortages of food, drought, and the expensive cost to refine it scientists welcome this new research.
Professor Brown explains that the time from eating to defecation is comparatively short in the panda, so microbes have to be very efficient to get nutritional value out of the bamboo.
The goal of this research is to find a highly efficient way to break down lignocellulose and freeing up the material that can be fermented into ethanol
Panda microbes could help make this process faster and cheaper, and the bacteria that dwell within pandas make them the prime candidates..
Thanks to fecal contributions from Ya Ya and Le Le, giant pandas at Tennessee's Memphis Zoo, Brown and Williams have identified more than 40 different panda gut microbe species so far to help contribute to further research.
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