Bacteria to replace gasoline for cars?
Bacteria, specifically e. Coli, could one day create biofuels to replace gasoline for your car. Researchers have shown that e-Coli bacteria, similar to those that live in your intestines, can also create precursor materials needed for the creation of efficent, high-octane biofuels.Scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School conducted the study of the bacteria.
Ethanol, the most common gasoline replacement, does not pack as much power as gasoline, and can corrode pipes and storage equipment, while gasoline is both a fossil fuel and a contributor to greenhouse gases. Therefore, the demand is great for a biologically-based gasoline alternative that could run current vehicles and stay in usable form under a variety of conditions. Such a biofuel has just been produced by e- Coli bacteria under the influence of enzymes.
"The big contribution is that we were able to program cells to make specific fuel precursors," Pamela Silver, of the Wyss Institute and Harvard Medical School, said.
To accomplish this, silver and her team used e Coli bacteria to manufacture medium-chain-link fatty acids. These are chains of between four and 12 carbon atoms, along with hydrogen, which can converted into biofuels. This range was chosen since smaller chains do not contain enough energy, and longer molecules of this type are waxy. Two graduate students at Harvard Medical School, Joe Torella and Tyler Ford, adapted e. Coli bacteria to manufacture a fatty acid containing eight carbon atoms, called octanoate, which is convertible to octane.
The pair used an enzyme to successfully encourage the production of the needed fatty acid, but that approach was too expensive for commercial production, so they chose another, less expensive, genetically-altered enzyme to stimulate the process. The next step is to create alcohols with the bacterial process.
Silver and her team believe that their research could benefit not just green fuel, but also be applied to the creation of bioplastics, detergents, herbicides and pharmaceuticals.
"Sustainability is one of the biggest problems we face today, and developing potent biofuels to replace gasoline is a major challenge in the field. Using ingenious synthetic-biology strategies to engineer microbes so that they can produce octane, Pam's team has taken a giant step toward meeting this challenge," Don Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute, said.
This new research into the production of biofuels from bacteria was published in the June 24 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Rival Bacteria Killed By Bacteria To Be More Effective
In nature, living things go out in groups to take out another. This is true for large animals as well as bacteria. Rival bacteria is killed by bacteria to be more effective.
Faster Bacteria Detection Could Help People Live Longer
Detecting and identifying bacteria fast can be crucial. Faster bacteria detection could help people live longer.
Bacterial Enzyme Can Stop Body From Fighting Diseases
Bacteria can cause a number of illnesses. A bacterial enzyme can stop the body from fighting diseases.
Bacteria In Water Shut Down Popular Beaches in Australia
The sanitary agency in Melbourne warns swimmers to avoid entering beaches that are discoloured since it indicates bacetria in water. Five popular beaches are temporarily shut down due to the incident.
Antibiotic Therapy No Longer Kills Bacteria, UN Says
The United Nations stresses the growing problem of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotic therapy. In Singapore, the problem escalates as more and more patients with common infections are becoming less reponsive to anitbiotics.
MORE IN ITECHPOST
Limited Edition Apple Watch NikeLab Are Now Available
According to Nike, the Apple Watch NikeLab is a limited edition and designed to be the "ultimate style companion" for runners.
'Tokyo Ghoul' Season 3 Delayed By Its Live-Action Movie? Ken Kenaki Returns With Another Identity?
"Tokyo Ghoul" season 3's release is delayed and there are countless speculations as to why it is being pushed back. Reports claim that the show is to give way to "One Punch Man" and "My Hero Acdemia" but new rumors say that it's lack of materials and storyline as well as its live-action movie are causing the delay.
Overwatch Update: Buggy D.Va Fixed, Game Reaches New Milestone
Well, looks like the fan-favorite D.Va is back in Overwatch. Check out the details here!