News Center

Microbial Response to a Changing and Fire-Prone Arctic Ecosystem

As Arctic fire intensity and frequency increases, Berkeley Lab scientists study microbes’ influence on post-wildfire conditions and show that more microbial activity may speed up recovery

What’s in a Name for a New Fungal Strain?

Space exploration has allowed humans to journey from earth to space – but humans may not be the only organisms hitching a ride by spacecraft. Microbiologists who study extreme environments are on the lookout for microorganisms present on spacecraft surfaces that could potentially contaminate the pristine environments of outer space. Now a new fungal strain has been discovered in a spacecraft assembly facility and named after a long-time Berkeley Lab microbiologist, Tamas Torok.

A New Way to Make Chemicals Not Found in Nature

Adapted from a UC Berkeley news release. Synthetic biologists have successfully engineered microbes to make chemicals cheaply and more sustainably. However, researchers have been limited by the fact that microbes can only make molecules using chemical reactions seen in nature. A collaboration between scientists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley has engineered the microbe E.

New Technique Gets the Drop On Enzyme Reactions

Researchers develop an efficient method for studying fast biochemical reactions as they happen in real time

The Story Behind Our Infinitely Recyclable Plastic

A multidisciplinary team has been working for several years to develop a game-changing plastic that, unlike traditional plastics, can be recycled indefinitely and is not made from petroleum. In this Q&A, we asked two project leaders about the inspiration for the unique plastic, shortfalls in our current recycling systems, and how this ambitious project is enabled by a diverse combination of scientific expertise.

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

The soil, microbes, air, and water surrounding every individual plant is actually a bustling miniature environment that can tell us a great deal about important, large-scale ecological processes. Our scientists have developed a ground-breaking new way to study it.

Cataloging Nature’s Hidden Arsenal: Viruses that Infect Bacteria

A new approach for studying phages-bacteria interactions will help scientists study the intricate offensive and defensive chemical tactics used by parasite and host. These microscopic battles have implications for medicine development, agricultural research, and climate science.

How to Reduce Greenhouse Gas? Tips from a Methane-Eating Microbe

Scientists have determined the structure of a unique enzyme, produced by a species of methane-eating bacteria, that converts the greenhouse gas into methanol – a highly versatile liquid fuel and industrial product ingredient.

Microbe “Rewiring” Technique Promises a Boom in Biomanufacturing

Berkeley Lab researchers have achieved unprecedented success in modifying a microbe to efficiently produce a compound of interest using a computational model and CRISPR-based gene editing. Their approach could dramatically speed up the research and development phase for new biomanufacturing processes, getting advanced bio-based products, such as sustainable fuels and plastic alternatives, on the shelves faster.

Focusing in on Aquatic Microbes: Berkeley Lab Scientists Receive Grant for New Microscopy Approach

A trio of Berkeley Lab scientists has been awarded a grant by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop a unique microscopy technology that can be used to study symbiosis in aquatic microbes – biological relationships that have a large influence on ecosystems and the planet’s climate. The grant is part of a three-year, $19-million project within the Foundation’s Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative.