Other microorganisms and aquatic plants being investigated as biofuels feedstocks
Proterro has developed a patented method using modified cyanobateria in bioreactors to produce sugars, which could be used as feedstock for advanced biofuels. Proterro says that the system potentially offers higher productivity (per acre of land used) and costs less than producing sugar from corn, cellulose or sugar cane.
Researchers at the Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University have modified cyanobacteria (photosynthetic bacteria) to excrete oil, which can be collected without killing the cells. The technique could be used to optimise microbial oil production for conversion into biofuels. The Biodesign Institute is also carrying out research to optimise Photobiorectors (e.g. phosphorous, CO2 light irradience) for cyanobacetria.
Researchers at J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md. and Waseda University in Tokyo have modified the circadian clock of cyanobacteria to remain in its daytime state and hence increase productivity. Researchers on the project include Professor Carl H. Johnson, Vanderbilt University.
Aquatic plants with potential as biomass feedstocks
Aquatic plants, such as Spirodela polyrhiza, commonly called Greater Duckweed, have low levels of cellulose and lignin and have the potential to be converted to biofuel at a cost competitive with fossil fuels. In 2014 the genome was being investigated by researchers at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, with a view to optimising the pond plant as a future feedstock. Thermochemical Conversion of Duckweed to gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel - the 'duckweed biorefinery' concept - is also being studied by Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University, and the Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences et al.