Good Things from a Bad Bug
When bacteria killed off marsh grasses in Chesapeake Bay, scientists wondered if the bug could help them to create a new source of biofuel.
Why It Matters
- Biofuels are cheaper and cleaner than petroleum. Developing new sources is an active area of research.
- Cellulosic biomass is the fibers that make up the structure of wood, cornstalks and other plant materials that are not edible to humans.
- When marsh grasses in the Chesapeake Bay died off, scientists found the bacteria (sometimes called a “bug” in the video) that were responsible.
- The scientist researched if they could use these bacteria to make biofuel from cellulosic biomass.
With the link below, learn more about biofuels. Then answer the following questions.
- Why are scientists looking for new sources of biofuels?
- Why is cellulosic biomass better than corn as a source of biofuel?
- Why did the scientists think that dying marsh grass may be useful for producing biofuels?
- How do the bacteria break down the cellulosic biomass?
- What did the scientist need to do so that they could break down the cellulosic biomass without the bacteria?