1. ITV Report

Landfill sites 'could become a source of biofuel'

Collecting leachate from a capped landfill site. Photo: Prifysgol Bangor University

Scientists say landfill sites are full of cellulose from paper and clothing which could be turned into biofuel if enzymes (which speed up chemical reactions) could be found to do it.

They say landfill sites are a good place to look.

They have examined the liquid or ‘leachate’ within landfill sites and identified which bacteria produce groups of enzymes to degrade cellulose.

Microbes from a landfill site. Credit: Prifysgol Bangor University

The enzymes are similar to those in the guts of animals, like cows and sheep, which breakdown the cellulose in grass.

Understanding exactly how the cellulose and lignin decompose, and the sources of the active enzymes in the process will enable us to determine ways to improve the degradation of waste in landfill sites, and potentially use this as a source for biofuel production.

– Emma Ransom-Jones, Bangor University