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Latest Thermophile Stories

2012-04-17 10:27:01

Many manufacturing processes rely on microorganisms to perform tricky chemical transformations or make substances from simple starting materials. The authors of a study appearing in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on April 17 have found a way to control a heat-loving microbe with a temperature switch: it makes a product at low temperatures but not at high temperatures. The innovation could make it easier to use microorganisms as miniature...

Turning Up The Heat On Biomass Pretreatment Processes
2011-10-03 04:43:00

The nation's Renewable Fuels Standard calls for annual production of 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022. One of the biggest hurdles to achieving this goal lies in optimizing the multistep process involved in breaking down plant biomass and then converting it into fermentable sugars that can be refined into fuel for our transportation needs. To overcome this challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy supports several projects focused on identifying enzymes from fungi and microbes such as...

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2011-07-06 07:53:34

Prospecting for new and unusual cellulose-digesting enzymes for biofuels production By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley Bioprospectors from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine have found a microbe in a Nevada hot spring that happily eats plant material "“ cellulose "“ at temperatures near the boiling point of water. In fact, the microbe's cellulose-digesting enzyme, called a cellulase, is most active at a record 109 degrees Celsius...

2011-03-16 14:18:27

Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions, such as laundry detergent digesting protein stains, which are otherwise very difficult to remove. A research team led by Professor Kam-bo Wong of the Centre for Protein Science and Crystallography, School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong demonstrated a fundamental principle in changing the activity of enzymes by means of protein engineering. The findings provide potential insights into the future design of...

2010-08-26 12:55:45

Rice study measures physical effects of evolution at molecular scale A unique experiment at Rice University that forces bacteria into a head-to-head competition for evolutionary dominance has yielded new insights about the way Darwinian selection plays out at the molecular level. An exacting new analysis of the experiment has revealed precisely how specific genetic mutations impart a physical edge in the competition for survival. The new research, which could lead to more effective strategies...

2009-09-18 07:24:37

Results point to potential use of microbes in offshore oil and gas exploration A team of scientists led by U of C grad Casey Hubert has detected high numbers of heat loving, or thermophilic, bacteria in subzero sediments in the Arctic Ocean off the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. The bacterial spores might provide a unique opportunity to trace seepages of fluids from hot sub-seafloor habitats, possibly pointing towards undiscovered offshore petroleum reservoirs. These thermophiles exist in...

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2007-01-21 09:47:36

Scientists have identified tiny nanoorganisms, which are virtually impossible to see beneath the microscope, in a Californian mine. The discovery may have important implications in the search for life on other planets. For 11 years, Jill Banfield at the University of California, Berkeley, has collected and studied the microbes that slime the floors of mines and convert iron to acid, a common source of stream pollution around the world. Imagine her surprise, then, when research scientist Brett...

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2006-12-23 12:07:30

For 11 years, Jill Banfield at the University of California, Berkeley, has collected and studied the microbes that slime the floors of mines and convert iron to acid, a common source of stream pollution around the world. Imagine her surprise, then, when research scientist Brett Baker discovered three new microbes living amidst the bacteria she thought she knew well. All three were so small - the size of large viruses - as to be virtually invisible under a microscope, and belonged to a totally...


Word of the Day
cacodemon
  • An evil spirit; a devil.
  • A nightmare.
  • In astrology, the twelfth house of a scheme or figure of the heavens: so called from its signifying dreadful things, such as secret enemies, great losses, imprisonment, etc.
'Cacodemon' comes from a Greek term meaning 'evil genius.'
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