A genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically engineered organism (GEO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques also known as recombinant DNA technology.
With recombinant DNA technology, DNA molecules from different sources are combined into one molecule to create a new gene. The gene is then transferred into the microorganism (transgenic microbe) and causes the expression of modified or novel traits; in our case – a – super cellulose / lignin degrading enzyme.
The technology for transgenic microbes has existed for years, and has seen limited use in medicine.
Certain environmental microbes are a source for enzymes that have the ability to degrade cellulose and lignin – the components of all vegetative growth. One product from the activity of these enzymes is a short chain hydrocarbon commonly known as methane gas.
From Mr. Bell’s initial observation, the necessary research began to identify and create genetically modified organisms (GMO) that naturally and efficiently digest particular types of biomass and produce hydrocarbons of varying chain lengths.
The next stage of the process is to tailor the bacteria to produce specific hydrocarbons that exhibit the most desirable characteristics in the least amount of time.
An enormous number of successful clones will be essential in order to accommodate the tremendous diversity of biomass while producing the desired length hydrocarbon chain.