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To Find New Biofuel Enzymes, It Can Take a Microbial Village

In search of new plant enzymes? Try looking in compost. Researchers at JBEI have demonstrated the importance of microbial communities as a source of stable enzymes that could be used to convert plants to biofuels. This approach yields robust enzymes that researchers can’t easily obtain from isolates.

Screening for Disease or Toxins in a Drop of Blood

The promise of being able to quickly and accurately screen for diseases or chemical contaminants in a tiny drop of blood has long been an elusive goal. But scientist Daojing Wang says his company’s technology is up to the job.

Beyond Biofuels: Berkeley Lab Facility a Catalyst for Broader Bio-based Economy

When the DOE’s Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (ABPDU) at Berkeley Lab commenced operations in 2012, the initial focus was on overcoming barriers to biofuel commercialization. To date, the ABPDU has entered into agreements with more than 30 partners.

X-ray Footprinting Solves Mystery of Metal-Breathing Protein

Berkeley Lab scientists have discovered the details of an unconventional coupling between a bacterial protein and a mineral that allows the bacterium to breathe when oxygen is not available.

Internship Fuels a Student’s Budding Career in Science

Ever wonder what the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit looks like from the inside? Check out Carolina Gutierrez’s Berkeley Lab Instagram Takeover, “The Day in the Life of an Intern at ABPDU,” at www.instagram.com/berkeleylab/. As a high school student in her hometown of Manteca, California, Carolina Gutierrez was a top student who excelled in advanced

DOE Renews Funding for Joint BioEnergy Institute at Berkeley Lab

The Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), led by Berkeley Lab, is one of four DOE Bioenergy Research Centers to receive funding in support of innovative research on biofuels and bioproducts. The four centers will receive a total of $40 million. The award marks the next research phase at JBEI, originally established in 2007.

New Berkeley Lab Algorithms Extract 3-D Biological Structure From Limited Data

A new algorithmic framework called M-TIP helps researchers determine the molecular structure of proteins and viruses from X-ray free electron laser data, which is crucial in fields like biology and medicine.

A Whole-Genome Sequenced Rice Mutant Resource for the Study of Biofuel Feedstocks

Researchers at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute, in collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute, are reporting the first whole-genome sequence of a mutant population of Kitaake, a model variety of rice. Their high-density, high-resolution catalog of mutations facilitates the discovery of novel genes and functional elements that control diverse biological pathways.

What’s On Your Skin? Archaea, That’s What

It turns out your skin is crawling with single-celled microorganisms – and they’re not just bacteria. A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Medical University of Graz has found that the skin microbiome also contains archaea, a type of extreme-loving microbe, and that the amount of it varies with age.

Study Sheds Light on How Bacterial Organelles Assemble

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and Michigan State University are providing the clearest view yet of an intact bacterial microcompartment, revealing at atomic-level resolution the structure and assembly of the organelle’s protein shell. This work could benefit research in bioenergy and pathogenesis, and it could lead to new methods of bioengineering bacteria for beneficial purposes.