Engineered bacterium inhales carbon dioxide and hydrogen and excretes fuel alcohols

Engineered bacterium inhales carbon dioxide and hydrogen and excretes fuel alcohols
Daniel G. Nocera. Credit: Courtesy of Daniel G. Nocera
(Phys.org)—Harvard Chemist Daniel Nocera has announced during a lecture at the Energy Policy Institute in Chicago, that he and his colleagues have engineered a bacterium that has made it capable of taking in carbon dioxide and hydrogen, and excreting several types of alcohol fuels, along with biomass that can be burned and used as an energy source. During the talk, he claimed that a paper he and his colleagues have written regarding the work will soon be published in the journal Science.

Nocera achieved a level of notoriety five years ago, when he and his team announced that they had created an artificial leaf that could be used to generate hydrogen for use as a fuel—that idea did not lead to displacing gasoline in automobiles, as he had hoped, so this go round, he has set his sights or providing a fuel source for those more in need—parts of India where there is still no electricity.

The new bacterium, which has been named Ralston eutropha was first caused (via genetic engineering) to take in carbon dioxide and , which it used to produce , as is done with plants. The team then took the work further by applying techniques pioneered by Anthony Sinskey to cause the bacterium to then convert the ATP to various types of alcohols (isopentanol, isobutanol, isopropanol) which were then excreted. Nocera claimed that when the bacterium was allowed to reproduce, clusters of them were capable of producing alcohols at 6 percent efficiency and biomass at 10.6 percent efficiency, (plants in comparison are approximately 1 percent efficient at converting sunlight and carbon dioxide into biomass).

Noting that some might see masses of such bacteria pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as a possible solution to reducing global warming, which is believed to be at least partly caused by an excess of the gas in the atmosphere, Nocera suggested that was not the most likely outcome—he envisions people in need burning the alcohol and biomass as a , which would of course return the back into the atmosphere—making it a carbon-neutral resource. He finished his lecture by announcing that he and his team are currently looking for investors to bring the technology to parts of India where it is so badly needed.


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More information: via Forbes
Journal information: Science

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May 31, 2016
And has anyone looked at this engineered bacteria for harmful effects if it gets free in the environment?

May 31, 2016
Isn't the harmful side-effect fuel?
Probably a bit troublesome if lakes of fuel would appear in India, but at the same time, if contained and controlled properly it wouldn't be much of an issue.
Admittedly rural parts of India might be one of the least suited places to contain and control a fairly 'volatile' bacteria since if I understood correctly, it uses carbon dioxide as it's own fuel.

Though, perhaps before commercial application, they could add some weaknesses to it so it cannot thrive outside of purpose built container/environment?

May 31, 2016
Lets engineer bacteria that drink salt water and piss distilled water!

May 31, 2016
Does that pic look like a "mad scientist" or what...?

May 31, 2016
Lets engineer bacteria that drink salt water and piss distilled water!

Now, if you had said sparkling, CO2 laden, distilled water, you'd be on to something. Never forget, it's all about the evil CO2.

May 31, 2016
Lets engineer bacteria that drink salt water and piss distilled water!

Erm...I don't think you understand how this works. To use bacteria as a processing plant the input (atoms) has to equal the output (atoms).
(Minus some part which the bacteria can use for their own growth. But in a process as described in the article you want to minimize this, as anything going that way decreases efficiency..That's the 'biomass' part they talk about)

Now if we use bacteria to distill water - where does the salt go? Vanish magically into thin air? No. It would accumulate in the bacteria and quickly stop the process.either by:
- increasing osmotic forces to a point where an equilibrium is reached (i.e. the water coming out is as salty as the water going in)
or
- killing the bacteria outright (salt has been used as an effective means of preservation - i.e. keeping bacteria from growing - for thousands of years)

May 31, 2016
Now if we use bacteria to distill water - where does the salt go? Vanish magically into thin air? No. It would accumulate in the bacteria and quickly stop the process
-And so, scientists who were actually looking for a way to use bacteria to desalinate water tried another approach.

"The idea of a microbial fuel cell is based on taking organic waste and turning it into a source of energy," said Bruce Logan, a scientist at Penn State and co-author of a paper in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

"In this newest discovery, we figured we would desalinate water by modifying the electricity generated by the bacteria."

"Using only two thin pieces of plastic, the researchers have discovered the key to harnessing the power of these microbes. The membrane created by the Penn State scientists can draw away the electrons, ions or gases created by the microbes, towards an anode or a cathode, which are positively and negatively charged electrodes."

Dug
May 31, 2016
Perhaps feasible for waste digestion, but as a primary biofuel generator - it's still limited by phosphorus inputs. A mass balance equation expressing the bacterial process (all inputs = all outputs) would make the article - and researcher far more credible.

"The new bacterium, which has been named Ralston eutropha was first caused (via genetic engineering) to take in carbon dioxide and hydrogen, which it used to produce adenosine triphosphate, as is done with plants."

This does describe where the critical phosphorus comes from in the ATP - thus far P is the primary limiter of biofuel feasibility and sustainability.

May 31, 2016
HEY OTTO (the disciple of the WWII Nazi, Otto Skorzeny)

So now you're pretending to know science by copy & paste? LMAO
Like I said before, your excerpts are invalid. They are not proof of what you claimed about me.
GIVE US THE ORIGINAL POST LINK WHERE PIROUETTE OR ANYONE ELSE MENTIONED BELIEF IN YOUR IMAGINARY 900 FOOT TALL GLASSY HEADED MARTIANS (LAYING DOWN). YOU CAN'T DO IT B/C IT DOES NOT EXIST, ISN'T THAT RIGHT? SINCE IT WAS YOU WHO MADE IT UP.
So prove your innocence, Otto. Try to be like a real human.

http://phys.org/n...html#jCp

Jun 06, 2016
C'mon Daniel, your wife is Irma Bunt isn't she... does she call you No.7? Is the bacterium an evil bacterium; bankrolled by SPECTRE?
If you are not signed up to the next Bond film, can I be your agent?

Jun 06, 2016
antigoracle1.8 /5 (5) May 31, 2016
Lets engineer bacteria that drink salt water and piss distilled water!

Now, if you had said sparkling, CO2 laden, distilled water, you'd be on to something. Never forget, it's all about the evil CO2.


No, you brought that up, you feckless oxygen thief. Go back to your WillieWanker persona.

Jun 06, 2016
Engineered bacterium inhales carbon dioxide and hydrogen and excretes fuel alcohols


Would it be possible to skip the "fuels" part and make some nice single malt whiskey instead ?
Just saying...

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