background preloader

Algae

Facebook Twitter

Scientists are making biodegradable flip-flops out of algae. Algae used to give bioprinted tissue an oxygenated boost. One of the challenges in 3D printing biological tissue lies in the fact that the cells may die before oxygen-delivering blood vessels grow into the material.

Algae used to give bioprinted tissue an oxygenated boost

Harvard scientists are addressing that issue, by adding algae to the mix. Led by Asst. Prof. Y. Shrike Zhang, the researchers started by encapsulating photosynthetic Chlamydomonas reinhardtii algae within a cellulose-based bioink. Photosynthetic printing material gets stronger with exposure to light. As a seedling matures into a tree, its trunk and branches become stiffer and stronger.

Photosynthetic printing material gets stronger with exposure to light

Scientists have now replicated this effect in a photosynthesis-assisted 3D-printing ink, made partially from spinach. Photosynthesis begins with plant cell substructures known as chloroplasts, which absorb sunlight. They use the energy from that light to convert water and carbon dioxide into glucose, which is in turn used to produce cellulose. Because cellulose is the main component of a plant's cell walls, the greater the amount of cellulose that's produced, the stronger the plant gets. Recent advances in synthetic biology of cyanobacteria. Wound-healing patch of blue-green algae mends skin quickly. By Alice Klein Choja/Getty Images A skin patch made of living blue-green algae speeds up wound healing in mice, and may help to treat chronic wounds in people with diabetes.

Wound-healing patch of blue-green algae mends skin quickly

About a quarter of people with diabetes develop chronic wounds because they have poor circulation and other complications that make it harder for their skin to heal following cuts and scrapes. In severe cases, the affected body part has to be amputated. Diabetic wounds are sometimes treated with oxygen gas, because oxygen is known to assist with skin healing. Dunaliella. Dunaliella is a single-celled, photosynthetic green alga, that is characteristic for its ability to outcompete other organisms and thrive in hypersaline environments.[1] It is mostly a marine organism, though there are a few freshwater species that tend to be more rare.[2] It is a genus where certain species can accumulate relatively large amounts of β-carotenoids and glycerol in very harsh growth conditions consisting of high light intensities, high salt concentrations, and limited oxygen and nitrogen levels, yet is still very abundant in lakes and lagoons all around the world .[3] It becomes very complicated to distinguish and interpret species of this genus on simply a morphological and physiological level due to the organism’s lack of cell wall that allows it to have malleability and change shape and its different pigments that allows it to change colours depending on the environmental conditions.

Dunaliella

History of knowledge[edit] Habitat and ecology[edit] Life cycle[edit] References[edit] Sugar turns brown algae into good carbon stores. You may like them or not, but almost everyone knows them: brown algae such as Fucus vesiculosus, commonly known as bladderwrack, grow along the entire German coast.

Sugar turns brown algae into good carbon stores

Giant kelp like Macrocystis or Sargassum grow closely together along the coasts but can also form floating aggregates that can cover the Atlantic from west to east. Some ecologists see this this very productive ecosystem as a marine counterpart to rainforests on land. In these algal forests, large amounts of carbon dioxide are stored, making them an important part of the global carbon cycle. This Type of Algae Absorbs More Light for Photosynthesis Than Other Plants. Algae inside blood vessels could act as oxygen factories.

CHICAGO — It’s a strange mash-up, but it works: Algae living inside tadpoles’ blood vessels can pump out oxygen for nearby oxygen-starved nerve cells.

Algae inside blood vessels could act as oxygen factories

Using algae as local oxygen factories in the brain might one day lead to therapies for strokes or other damage from too little oxygen, researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich said October 21 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. “In the beginning, it sounds really funny,” says neurobiologist Suzan Özugur. Sargassum seaweed links Amazon rainforest fires and the Caribbean Islands. Back on the British Virgin Islands, Horton says it’s been an “educational journey” since the rafts of Sargassum wafted in back in 2011.

Sargassum seaweed links Amazon rainforest fires and the Caribbean Islands

The island natural resources officials have learned “what to do, what not to do, when to leave it so it can be incorporated in the sand; when to actually step in, clean it, and move it along.” That journey has had its ups and downs. The downs were most obvious when, in 2011, Horton saw that an abundance of Sargassum can deplete oxygen in the water when it decays. “Because marine life needs oxygen, some were not able to survive,” Horton explains. Cyanobacteria use micro-optics to sense light direction. This paper reaches an interesting and novel conclusion – that phototaxis in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis operates via the cell acting as a microlenses.

Cyanobacteria use micro-optics to sense light direction

All reviewers felt this conclusion was well supported by the data presented, particularly the laser spot experiments in Figure 4. Nonetheless, several issues need attention before we can reach a final decision on the paper. Those identified by several reviewers are summarized below; the individual reviews follow. Pacific Ocean Iron Level Mystery Solved. The middle of the Earth’s oceans are filled with vast systems of rotating currents known as subtropical gyres.

Pacific Ocean Iron Level Mystery Solved

These regions occupy 40% of the Earth’s surface and have long been considered remarkably stable biological deserts, with little variation in chemical makeup or the nutrients needed to sustain life. However, there exists a strange anomaly in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre ecosystem that has puzzled scientists for years. In this region that occupies the Pacific Ocean between China and the United States, the chemistry changes periodically. Can Better Photosynthesis Help Feed the World?

In the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, layers of colorful bacteria grow in thick mats.

Can Better Photosynthesis Help Feed the World?

Near the water’s surface, the green organisms photosynthesize like plants do, using light and chlorophyll to split water molecules and make sugar. Farther down in the mats, the microbes are black. Researchers long assumed that plant-like photosynthesis is not possible for this layer of organisms because they don’t have access to enough visible light. Diatom Microbubbler for Active Biofilm Removal in Confined Spaces - ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Bacterial biofilms form on and within many living tissues, medical devices, and engineered materials, threatening human health and sustainability. Removing biofilms remains a grand challenge despite tremendous efforts made so far, particularly when they are formed in confined spaces. One primary cause is the limited transport of antibacterial agents into extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) of the biofilm.

Diatom microbubble scrubber destroys dangerous biofilms (w/video) Robots Made from Algae, Powered by Magnets Can Kill Cancer, Swim Through Blood. When you think of algae, your first thought probably isn’t “robot-making material,” but a group of researchers are hoping that not only will the green stuff be instrumental in making bots, but that it could be a new step towards miniature, bloodborne robots that help protect humans from and perhaps even cure disease. Spirulina, as its name suggests, looks a bit like a corkscrew. Its tiny, and coiled, and it responds to magnetic pulses. This is key, because engineers at the University of Hong Kong believe it could be key to delivering drugs to specific parts of the body where they are most needed, dramatically cutting side effects.

This robot made of algae can swim through your body—thanks to magnets. For decades, engineers have been trying to build medical robots that can deliver drugs or do surgery inside the human body—a somewhat less fantastic version of the 1966 sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage. Now, scientists have manipulated spirulina, a microscopic plant and food supplement, to travel through people in response to magnetic signals. The biohybrid robot could one day carry drugs to specific parts of the body, minimizing side effects. What’s more, the robot—and its magnetic coat—appear to kill cancer cells. Spirulina, an alga, looks like a tiny coiled spring at the microscopic level.