Feeding a plant waste-derived sugar sauce to genetically modified E. coli bacteria produces fatty acids in a project under development at Rice University. The carbon-rich acids can then be turned into fuel. Rice is part of a project funded by the Department of Agriculture to scale up the production of fuel and other petroleum-like products from biomass. Rice University "Green" chemistry developed at Rice University is at the center of a new government effort to turn plant waste into fatty acids, and then into fuel.
The Rice lab of bioengineer Ka-Yiu San is part of a recently announced $25 million United States Department of Agriculture project to develop a new generation of renewable energy and bio-based products from switchgrass and forestry residues and from a new hybrid of sorghum being developed at Texas A&M University.
For further reading refer to: phys.org/news/2013-02-bacteria-fat-fuel.html