French Researchers to Identify Best Microbes for Biofuel Production
News Feb 19, 2014
Anasys Instruments reports on the publication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters demonstrating the use of AFM-IR used by French researchers to identify best microbes for biofuel production.
While the debate over using crops for fuel continues, scientists are now reporting a new, fast approach to develop biofuel in a way that doesn't require removing valuable farmland from the food production chain.
Their work examining the fuel-producing potential of Streptomyces, a soil bacterium known for making antibiotics, appears in ACS' The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
The scientists used atomic force microscopy combined with infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR) to measure the size and map the distribution of oil inclusions inside of microorganism without staining or other special sample preparation. The same method also could help researchers identify other microbes that could be novel potential fuel sources.
The authors led by Ariane Deniset-Besseau from the Laboratoire de Chimie-Physique at the Universite Paris-Sud point out that with the rise in oil prices in recent years, the search has been on for alternative fuels. Though plants such as soy and corn have been popular, the honeymoon ended as people realized how much arable land they were taking up.
So now, researchers are seeking additional sources, including bacteria. Streptomyces has become a candidate in this search. It can make and store large amounts of oils called triacylglycerols (TAGs), which are direct precursors of biodiesel.
Also, manufacturers already know how to grow vast amounts of it because pharmaceutical companies use the versatile bacterium to produce life-saving antibiotics. To better understand these microbes' potential as a fuel source, Deniset-Besseu's team wanted to explore how Streptomyces stores TAGs.
They used a novel laboratory instrument that combines an atomic force microscope with a tunable infrared laser source. This instrument allows researchers to determine how and where the bacteria store TAGs.
Some strains hardly accumulate any oil, whereas others stored large amounts of oil in a way that might be easy to harvest.
The researchers conclude that their technique could greatly speed up the identification of other microbes that could produce large amounts of bio-oil.
This Seed Could Bring Clean Water to MillionsNews
Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Professors Bob Tilton and Todd Przybycien recently co-authored a paper with Ph.D. students Brittany Nordmark and Toni Bechtel, and alumnus John Riley, further refining a process that could soon help provide clean water to many in water-scarce regions. The process, created by Tilton’s former student and co-author Stephanie Velegol, uses sand and plant materials readily available in many developing nations to create a cheap and effective water filtration medium, termed “f-sand.”READ MORE
Cryo-EM Reveals Interaction Between Major Drug TargetsNews
For the first time, scientists have visualized the interaction between two critical components of the body's vast cellular communication network, a discovery that could lead to more effective medications with fewer side effects for conditions ranging from migraine to cancer.READ MORE
The Friedrich Schiller University Jena Partners with ACD/Labs to Advance its Analytical Data Management StrategyNews
Implementation of ACD/Spectrus as an analytical data management system helps researchers and students streamline NMR and MS data processing, interpretation, collaboration, and training.READ MORE