Cyanosite For Cyanobacteria, The Blue-green Algae. Cyanobacteria could revolutionize the plastic industry. Cyanobacteria produce plastic naturally as a by-product of photosynthesis—and they do it in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have now succeeded for the first time in modifying the bacteria's metabolism to produce this natural plastic in quantities enabling it to be used industrially. This new plastic could come to compete with environmentally harmful petroleum-based plastics. The researchers, headed by Professor Karl Forchhammer of the Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine, recently presented their findings in several studies that appeared in the journals Microbial Cell Factories and PNAS. "The industrial relevance of this form of bioplastic can hardly be overestimated," says Forchhammer. Around 370 million tons of plastics are currently produced each year.
A solution to these problems may lie in a strain of cyanobacteria with surprising properties. More information: Tim Orthwein et al. Moritz Koch et al. Adaptive and acclimative responses of cyanobacteria to far-red light. Cyanobacteria use three major photosynthetic complexes, photosystem (PS) I, PS II and phycobilisomes, to harvest and convert sunlight into chemical energy.
Until recently, it was generally thought that cyanobacteria only used light between 400 nm and 700 nm to perform photosynthesis. However, the discovery of chlorophyll (Chl) d in Acaryochloris marina and Chl f in Halomicronema hongdechloris showed that some cyanobacteria could utilize far-red light. The synthesis of Chl f (and Chl d) is part of an extensive acclimation process, far-red light photoacclimation (FaRLiP), which occurs in many cyanobacteria. Organisms performing FaRLiP contain a conserved set of 17 genes encoding paralogous subunits of the three major photosynthetic complexes.
Far-red light photoacclimation leads to substantial remodelling of the photosynthetic apparatus and other changes in cellular metabolism through extensive changes in transcription. Third breakthrough demonstrates photosynthetic hacks can boost yield, conserve water. Plants are factories that manufacture yield from light and carbon dioxide—but parts of this complex process, called photosynthesis, are hindered by a lack of raw materials and machinery.
To optimize production, scientists from the University of Essex have resolved two major photosynthetic bottlenecks to boost plant productivity by 27 percent in real-world field conditions, according to a new study published in Nature Plants. This is the third breakthrough for the research project Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE); however, this photosynthetic hack has also been shown to conserve water. "Like a factory line, plants are only as fast as their slowest machines," said Patricia Lopez-Calcagno, a postdoctoral researcher at Essex, who led this work for the RIPE project. "We have identified some steps that are slower, and what we're doing is enabling these plants to build more machines to speed up these slower steps in photosynthesis. " 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.
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. Parallel phylogeography of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus. 1.Flombaum P, Gallegos JL, Gordillo RA, Rincón J, Zabala LL, Jiao N, et al.
Present and future global distributions of the marine Cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013;110:9824–9.CAS Article Google Scholar 2.Moore LR, Rocap G, Chisholm SW. Bacteria-Filled Bricks Build Themselves. Infusing building materials with living microorganisms has already lent inanimate objects new powers.
Self-healing concrete, for example, uses bacteria or fungi to fix its own cracks. Now researchers have developed a living substance that can transform from a gooey sand mixture into a solid brick—and then help build more copies of itself. Proponents say it could be used to make a building material that requires relatively few resources and absorbs greenhouse gases instead of releasing them. “We enabled the bacteria that we chose to help in the manufacturing process of the actual material,” says Wil Srubar, a materials scientist and architectural engineer at the University of Colorado Boulder.
His team used a type of cyanobacterium from the genus Synechococcus. This environmental advantage has also inspired other researchers, and there is already commercially available cement made with sand and bacteria in a process that emits less carbon dioxide than traditional manufacturing methods. Biomineralization and Successive Regeneration of Engineered Living Building Materials: Matter. Introduction.
Bricks Alive! Scientists Create Living Concrete. The researchers bought Knox brand gelatin at a local supermarket and dissolved it in the solution with the bacteria.
When they poured the mixture into molds and cooled it in a refrigerator, the gelatin formed its bonds — “just like when you make Jell-O,” Dr. Srubar said. The gelatin provided more structure, and worked with the bacteria to help the living concrete grow stronger and faster. After about a day, the mixture formed concrete blocks in the shape of whatever molds the group used, including two-inch cubes, shoe box-size blocks and truss pieces with struts and cutouts. Individual two-inch cubes were strong enough for a person to stand on, although the material is weak compared to most conventional concretes. When the group brought small samples to a regular review meeting with officials from Darpa, they were impressed, Dr.
Stored in relatively dry air at room temperature, the blocks reach their maximum strength over the course of days, and the bacteria gradually begin to die out.