Turku/Freiburg – EU researchers led by scientists at the University of Turku have begun designing a bacterium able to produce liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from sunlight. “We have all the parts to put the ability for production of propane into photosynthetic cyanobacteria,” said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hess from Freiburg University. According to the member of the “DirectFuel” project (www.directfuel.eu), the nine research groups that have been funded by the EU with EUR3.7m over the next four years have already mapped all the promotors of the Synechocystis strain needed for fine-tuning propane production. Unlike most products generated by metabolically-engineered microorganisms, propane is easy to harvest because it is a gas at room temperature. LPG has been used as a commercial fuel for 50 years.