back to article Biofuel boffins pimp panda poo

Pandas are famous for a restricted and difficult diet: the bamboo they favour takes a lot of digesting to yield enough energy to keep them going. Naturally enough, then, the tricks that the panda has evolved to survive turn out to be quite potent at breaking down plant material – and according to the American Chemical Society …


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  1. frank ly


    "... put the genes responsible for this efficient digestion into yeasts, which could be grown on a commercial scale ..."

    I for one will not welcome our yeasty, plant consuming overlords, after a few of them escape from the vat.

    1. Francis Boyle


      Can't have a repeat of the time that brewer's yeast escaped and turned Lake Baikal into 20 million cubic kilometers of alcohol.

      1. Francis Boyle


        That'll be 20 thousand cubic kilometers (ATW). Not that any of the cleanup workers cared after they'd got through the first few litres. Most successful disaster cover-up in Soviet history that was.

  2. Ian Ferguson

    Do your bit for the environment:

    Dissect a panda

  3. Some Beggar

    "Put a panda in your tank"

    It doesn't have quite the same cachet as a tiger somehow.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Some Beggar

      "Put a panda in your tank"

      It doesn't have quite the same cachet as a tiger somehow.

      Yes those WWF logo's make them look too sad to be dangerous.

      Except a panda in *reality* is close to 3m tall and weighs 1/2-3/4 of a metric ton. A "playful" slap from those paws can easily knock your head off or rip out your spine as some brown bear loving Merkin discovered a few years ago.

      Very cute as infants but not really a pet.

      1. Some Beggar

        @John Smith 19

        Ummm ... what?

        Pandas are half that size. Are you confusing them with actual bears?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Green wet dream...

    Sounds like an absolute wet dream for WWF et al.

    Pandas can save us from thermogeddon by making biofule!

    Now to get Polar bears into the mix somehow.

    1. Steven Roper

      The problem is

      that PETA, WWF and other animal-rights activists would all start jumping up and down when some biofuel-corp starts farming battery-cage pandas in huge factories, feeding off of conveyor belts and shitting through tubes shoved up their arses to streamline the production process - so maybe using pandas as a fuel source isn't so "green" after all...

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Next is Chuck Norris

    Sure his contain bacterias that can break down practically everything ?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you make panda food into biofuel

    What will the pandas eat?

    1. Mediocrates

      What the pandas will eat

      Soylent Green

  7. PyLETS

    Beats using sulphuric acid

    To crack cellulose into sugars for making wood alcohol, as was done during the US prohibition bonanza for organised crime, here's a recipe: . But that's suitable for engine fuel, not happy juice. I don't think I'd like to drink this product myself, there lies the journey into blindness and insanity.

    Mines the coat with the hydrometer, blackberries, dried yeast and granulated sugar in the pocket. Cerevisiae Saccharomyces is easily grown and has all the bio-enzymes I need, but these crack much shorter carbohydrates into yeast digestible form than panda poo.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      As I can testify

      As I can testify from the lovely yeasty, blackberry aroma floating up from my basement as we speak :D

  8. Colin Millar

    How to miss the point

    " it would reduce the industry’s reliance on food crops"

    Well yes - but the foodcrops aren't the point - it's the acreage.

    1. Some Beggar

      @Colin Millar

      I think the two advantages are (a) you would be able to use grasses and woody plants which grow on land that isn't suitable for food crops and (b) you can use cellulose-heavy waste products: the stems of cereal crops, wood chippings, etc.

      It isn't obvious from the Reg article though.

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