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article imageScientists look at panda poo for biofuel clues

By Owen Weldon     Oct 3, 2015 in Odd News
Researchers in Belgium are looking at excrement of giant pandas in hopes to find clues on how to develop new generations of biofuel.
The researchers are examining the panda poo to try to understand how they can digest tough bamboo.
The panda's genetic make-up is like a carnivore, but pandas stick to a diet that mainly consists of bamboo.
There have been a few scientific studies that have taken a look at the panda's digestive track, but the researchers said this study is the first to focus on the microorganisms that are found inside the panda's guts.
Korneel Rabaey, a professor for biochemical and microbial technology at Ghent University, said that they can look for new enzymes, which could be used to degrade tough biomass.
Rabaey said it was a huge feat for pandas to digest bamboo. This is because of how hard it is. He also pointed out that the pandas only consume certain parts of the bamboo. Rabaey said they don't understand very well why the pandas do this.
The main reason why the scientists take the panda poo is because the bugs, the microorganisms that are digesting all of the hard food. Rabaey said that they were going to take the excrement and put it in the reactors, and then they will see how the digestion works.
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