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  • Richard Conniff

  • Reviews for Richard Conniff’s Books

    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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The Next Big Thing #8: Brewing A Better Biofuel

Posted by Richard Conniff on December 27, 2013

Our efforts at shifting from fossil fuels to biofuels have been largely a bust so far. Using corn as a feedstock takes food off the table or drives up its price—with little or no reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. It would make more sense to turn farm wastes such as corncobs and stalks into biofuel. So far, though, it’s been too difficult to break down tough, woody fibers into simple sugars. But tweaking the relationships within teams of microbes may provide a way forward. University of Michigan researchers recently teamed the fungus Trichoderma reesei, which breaks down corn stalks and other tough plant wastes into sugars, with a strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli that had been genetically engineered to convert the sugars into isobutanol. Isobutanol produces about 82 percent as much energy as gasoline, a big jump up from the 67 percent produced by ethanol—and the process still leaves the edible part of the plant on the dinner table.


One Response to “The Next Big Thing #8: Brewing A Better Biofuel”

  1. […] Billion Served 5. A Crop for All Seasons 6. Disarming the Enemy 7. Post-Antibiotic World 8. Brewing a Better Biofuel 9. Turning Electricity into Fuel 10. Gluttons for Greenhouse […]

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