E. Coli Becomes An Autotroph (IMAGE) Cell Press Caption This diagram shows how researchers converted a common laboratory sugar eating (heterotrophic) E. coli bacterium (left) to produce all of its biomass from CO2 (autotrophic) by metabolic engineering combined with laboratory evolution. The new bacterium (center) uses the compound formate as a form of chemical energy to drive CO2 fixation by a synthetic metabolic pathway. The bacterium may provide the infrastructure for future industrial renewable production of food and green fuels (right). Credit Gleizer et al. Usage Restrictions Credit Required. License Licensed content Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.