- Jan 2010
WEIRD MICROBE TURNS PEE INTO ROCKET FUEL
The anammox bacterium can create rocket fuel from ammonia -- a chemical found in urine. Sadly, it won't get us to Mars.
Scientists on Sunday said they had gained insights into a remarkable bacterium that lives without oxygen and transforms ammonium, the ingredient of urine, into hydrazine, a rocket fuel.
So-called anammox -- for anaerobic ammonium oxidation -- germs caused a sensation when they were first identified in the 1990s, but uncovering their secrets is taking time.
In a letter published by the British science journal Nature, researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands reported they had identified the molecular mechanism by which the bugs do their fuel-trick.
(snip ... )
The team's work initially piqued NASA's interest, but this faded when the US space agency learned that only small quantities of precious hydrazine are produced, "nothing like enough to get a rocket to Mars," said Jetten.
more: Weird Microbe Turns Pee into Rocket Fuel : Discovery News
Okay - that is super cool!