Scientists in Spain are delighted to discover the fuel-eating bacteria they only suspected existed, according to Car and Driver. Since the now-unnamed species was found under the fuel cap of a Toyota Yaris, one of the scientists even suggests that the species ‘Isoptericola toyotensis‘ should be called.
According to researcher Manuel Porcar, the researchers stumbled upon the fuel-eating bacteria in a parking lot, but it wasn’t really by accident. In the past, scientists have often looked for bacteria that can break down stubborn carbon sources, such as diesel or petrol. They did this often and in vain on oil spills and beach sand after an oil spill. Porcar and his team now decided to look closer to home, namely in and around the fuel caps of passenger cars.
They examined ten cars, five petrol and five diesel cars. One was Manuel Porcar’s Peugeot 206 and another was team member Juli Peretó’s Toyota Yaris Hybrid. The species was found in the fuel-soaked dirt around the opening of the Yaris’s gas tank.
The researchers then grew the bacteria in the lab and ‘fed’ it with a carbon source: diesel. The hungry bacteria broke down the diesel in two weeks.