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Bacteria for Blastoff: Using Microbes to Make Supercharged New Rocket Fuel

…rain that could produce large quantities of POP molecules from plant waste food sources (like inedible agricultural residue and brush cleared for wildfire prevention), potentially making the ultimate carbon-neutral fuel. Who’s up for some eco-friendly space travel?   This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. JBEI is an Office of Science Bioenergy Research Center…

Using Microbes to Convert Greenhouse Gases to Valuable Chemicals

…lot of groups working on microbes that use carbon dioxide as their primary food source. I thought developing technologies for methane could be interesting, and also, could we use carbon dioxide as a secondary resource, not to feed the microbe, but integrated somewhere in the middle of the system where it can enhance the product yield? My aim is to capture two greenhouse gases – both methane, which will be the primary food source for the microbe, a…

Using Bacteria to Accelerate CO2 Capture in Oceans

…, though, is that now you’ve shifted the cost burden onto supplying enough food to produce enough bacteria to produce enough enzyme. One way around this issue would be to use bacteria that can grow using energy and nutrients that are readily available in the natural environment. So this pointed towards photosynthetic bacteria. They can use sunlight as their energy source, and they can also use CO2 as their carbon source to feed on. And certain pho…

Four Berkeley Lab Scientists Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

…e to survive weeks of flooding and dramatically increases yield, improving food security globally for subsistence farmers. Omar Yaghi is an affiliate scientist in the Materials Sciences Division, former director of the Molecular Foundry user facility at Berkeley Lab, and a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley. His research group has pioneered metal-organic frameworks (MOFs): synthetic, porous materials created by binding individual metal atoms or…

Electricity Regulation with Equity and Justice for All

…g their energy bill or paying for other necessities, such as healthcare or food. Moreover, while many of the infrastructure investment decisions that utilities make, such as whether and where to build a new power plant, often have long-term environmental and health consequences, impacted communities often are not at the table. “Despite bearing an inequitable proportion of the negative impacts of environmental injustices related to fossil fuel-base…

All-Star Scientific Team Seeks to Edit Entire Microbiomes with CRISPR

A rendering of Lactobacillus, a type of beneficial bacteria found in the human intestine microbiome. (Credit: nopparit/iStock) Adapted from a UC Berkeley news release To date, CRISPR enzymes have been used to edit the genomes of one type of cell at a time: They cut, delete, or add genes to a specific kind of cell within a tissue or organ, for example, or to one kind of microbe growing in isolation in a test tube. Now, a team led by Jennifer Doudn…

Plants Buy Us Time to Slow Climate Change – But Not Enough to Stop It

…ause plants take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into food, forests and other similar ecosystems are considered to be some of the planet’s most important carbon sinks. In fact, the United States and many other countries that participated in last month’s UN Climate Change Conference have made nature-based solutions a critical feature of their carbon dioxide mitigation framework under the Paris Agreement. As human activities cau…

These Tiny Liquid Robots Never Run Out of Juice as Long as They Have Food

…ave to provide electrical energy because our liquibots get their power or ‘food’ chemically from the surrounding media,” Russell explained. Through a series of experiments in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, Russell and first author Ganhua Xie, a former postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab who is now a professor at Hunan University in China, learned that “feeding” the liquibots salt makes the liquibots heavier or denser than the liqu…

Chloro-phylling in the Answers to Big Questions

…nthesis occurs. The enzyme-based process of converting carbon dioxide into food, using water and sunlight, is literally the foundation of life on Earth – and understanding the reaction at an atomic level could lead to vast production of renewable fuels made from greenhouse gases sucked out of the air. Pretty world changing, indeed. A team from Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division has been uncovering precise…

Basics2Breakthroughs Video Series

…ctions which can lead to more efficient and sustainable crops that produce food, plant-based biofuels, and bioproducts. Episode 3 | Sean Lubner: Better energy storage to power a city with renewables Berkeley Lab Research Scientist Sean Lubner is studying materials that can help better store renewable energy to power large scale systems. Episode 2 | Natalia Molchanova: Mimicking nature with peptoids Natalia Molchanova, a scientific engineering asso…