Scientists engineered an E. Coli bacteria to eat CO2

Scientists from Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, rewired an E. Coli bacteria to make it consume CO2 rather than sugars to produce energy. Scientists are hoping this way they can better tackle climate change and use CO2 for sustainable production of energy.

The team used “metabolic rewiring”, to help transform the E coli’s diet to make it consume CO2 in a similar manner to a plant.This involved adding genes that metabolize CO2 and removing genes that usually process sugar compounds.


The achievement is a milestone, say scientists, because it drastically alters the inner workings of one of biology’s most popular model organisms. And in the future, CO2-eating E. coli could be used to make organic carbon molecules that could be used as biofuels or to produce food. Products made in this way would have lower emissions compared with conventional production methods, and could potentially remove the gas from the air. The work is published in Cell1 on 27 November.

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Senior author Ron Milo, a systems biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, said this: