Researchers Develop Rapid Testing Method for Bacteria Metabolism Used in Biofuel Production

March 26 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 2

wikimedia metabolism

Reasearchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed an innovative method for assessing the metabolism of biofuel producing bacteria, that could help to speed up future research efforts in this emerging field of bioenergy.

The key to the future of advanced bioenergy solutions based on bacteria and algae is to find the right type of molecular systems within a wide range of metabolic pathways inside microbes.

Typical metabolic studies for newly discovered bacteria can take 'months or even years to complete' using traditional methods.  The new method being tested by JBEI researchers is based on in vitro enzyme assays and a unique metabolic flux analysis that could complete metabolic studies in several weeks.

Taking a Lesson from Mother Nature
Learning to Manipuate Chemical Bonds
, Not Just Blow Up Our Reserves
Mother Nature does not have batteries to store the energy from the sun, it has chemical bonds. To assemble these bonds nature turns to plants, bacteria and algae that grab photons from the sun, carbon from the air and hydrogen from water to assemble carbon-hydrogen chains that humans eventually blow up for energy.

Every time you eat a piece of food (plant or meat) you are chewing up sunlight stored by Mother Nature.  Every time you drive your car, you are blowing up carbon-hydrogen chemical bonds formed by ancient algae (diatoms).  And the electricity that powers your lights?  That electron energy likely started as a photon captured by an ancient fern that became coal used in your lcoal power plant. 

Our economy already runs on (ancient) 'bioenergy', so why not look towards the future for creating new vast reserves by growing energy?

How Biology Can Teach Us Methods of Growing Energy By Binding Carbon with Hydrogen

Human beings have a lot to learn from biology as we begin to explore areas like cellulosic ethanol based on bacteria that eat agricultural and starchy food waste to produce usable forms of energy. To arrive at this future, we'll need to speed up our ability to find the right metabolic pathways.

"Using our methodology, one can rapidly analyze whether a bacterium is suitable as a biofuels host at an extremely fast time frame as compared to the traditional methods,” said Rajat Sapra, a biochemist with Sandia National Laboratories who directs the enzyme optimization program at JBEI “This is especially important now that we are discovering new and novel bacteria at a pace much, much faster than can be analyzed using the classical techniques."

 

Press Release

Image Credit: Wikimedia Metabolism

JBEI is one of three U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers. Its scientific partnership is led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and includes the Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia), the University of California (UC) campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Comment Thread (1 Response)

  1. Every time you eat a piece of food (plant or meat) you are chewing up sunlight stored by Mother Nature. Every time you drive your car, you are blowing up carbon-hydrogen chemical bonds formed by ancient algae (diatoms). Top Ten List And the electricity that powers your lights? That electron energy likely started as a photon captured by an ancient fern that became coal used in your lcoal power plant. And also check Prize bond Power search online for you.

    Posted by: farrukhnawaz   September 04, 2017
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