Chemistry lessons from bacteria may improve biofuel production

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    The recycling of plant carbon is fundamental to the function of our ecosystems, according to Cameron Currie, professor of bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. We get food, water, air, energy — almost everything — through those ecosystem services. It’s how our planet operates.
    But the component parts of a dead tree were carefully assembled in the first place, and don’t just fall apart for easy recycling.
    In the case of cellulose — a key structural component in plant cell walls and the most abundant organic compound in life on land — a world of specialized microbes handles this careful deconstruction. Much of that work is done by fungi growing on decaying plants, but bacteria in the soil, in the guts of animals like cows and working alongside insects, get the job done, too.
    A new analysis of a group of bacteria called Streptomyces reveals the way some strains of the microbe developed advanced abilities to tear up cellulose, and points out more efficient ways we might mimic those abilities to make fuel from otherwise unusable plant material.
    ajanta and Walter L. Wagner like this.

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