Tunicates, A New Biofuel Source





” The development of biofuels has so far been relatively inefficient, one reason for these is the scarcity in relation to the raw material needed to create the new generation of fuels. The bioethanol produced today is unsustainable because it comes from foods already used for human consumption.


However, scientists think that they have a new source: tunicates. Tunicates are marine filter feeders with a sac-like body structure. Various species are commonly known as sea squirts, sea pork or sea tulips. Tunicates contain a host of potentially useful chemical compounds, including didemnins, which are effective against various types of cancer.


There is something else special about tunicates: they are the only animal known to produce cellulose. Cellulose is seen as a key raw material for biofuel production, where certain bacteria are used to metabolize cellulose to produce ethanol.”