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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…

New Technology Sees Underground to Assess Crop Roots

Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a sensing technology to assess crop roots by “seeing” into the soil while keeping a plant’s roots intact. Tomographic Electrical Rhizosphere Imager (TERI), placed first in a Bayer Crop Science Grants4Tech competition that evaluated how well portable sensing devices can collect data on different root characteristics of corn and soybean plants in the field without disturbing the plant. (Credit: Yuxin Wu/Berkel…

Jay Keasling Receives Distinguished Scientist Fellow Award

…gy Research Center led by Berkeley Lab) that are aimed at transforming non-food plant waste from agriculture and forest management into liquid biofuels. “The research we will be performing under this award will develop enzymes that can be used to convert cellulosic biomass into new types of carbon-neutral fuels, particularly for airplanes and even rockets,” said Keasling. “When these biofuels are burned in engines, they will not add new carbon to…

ABPDU Celebrates a Decade of Bio-Innovation

…reparing them for careers in the biopharmaceutical, industrial biotech, or food tech industries. Tiffany Chen, UC Berkeley chemical engineering student, loads a sample into the AMBR 250 device as part of UC Berkeley’s Advanced Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory class. (Credit: Thor Swift/Berkeley Lab) Part of UC Berkeley’s Master of Bioprocess Engineering program, the course takes place at ABPDU’s facility, where ABPDU staff train students on how t…

Scientist at Berkeley Lab Played a Hand in “Inescapable” COVID-19 Antibody Discovery

…s are currently available through emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration. Sotrovimab, the newest antibody therapy, was developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology after a large collaborative study by scientists from across the nation discovered a natural antibody (in the blood of a SARS survivor, back in 2003) that has remarkable breadth and efficacy. Experiments showed that this antibody, called S309, neutral…

One-of-a-Kind Course Aims to Build the Bioeconomy Workforce

…d crisis as more and more people need access to better and more nutritious foods. But Ryder, an adjunct professor in UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry, is an optimist. He knows we have the tools to solve these problems: biotechnology and bioprocessing — using the power of biology to generate sustainable, bio-based chemicals, fuels, materials, and food products. Scientists have harnessed this power by using microbes to produce almost anything imag…

Meet EcoPOD: Berkeley Lab’s High-Tech Growing Chamber

…e planet are responding to climate change, how nutrients cycle through the food chain, and how we humans can engineer productive and drought-resistant crops. So, scientists and engineers from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) teamed up to create a unique platform that can be used to study all aspects of these miniature environments with unprecedented precision and control. The technology, named EcoPOD,…

To Design Truly Compostable Plastic, Scientists Take Cues From Nature

…vesting in expensive plastic-depackaging machines when they want to accept food waste for anaerobic digestion or composting, Scown said. Since their approach could potentially work well with both hard, rigid plastics and soft, flexible plastics, Xu would like to broaden their study to polyolefins, a ubiquitous family of plastics commonly used to manufacture toys and electronic parts. The team’s truly compostable plastic could be on the shelves soo…

How Microorganisms Can Help Us Get to Net Negative Emissions

…on of whether it’s economical to do it. A popular area for us right now is food proteins. For example, you might engineer a yeast to produce a milk protein. So, you can make chemically identical milk, but from yeast, so you’ve cut out the cow. We are helping companies that are making all kinds of products, from food proteins to biofuels to biobased skis, all using microbes. The common thread is that the vast majority of these companies use sugar,…