By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Biotech Week -- Investigators discuss new findings in Environmental Microbiology. According to news originating from Baltimore, Maryland, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, "Alga-derived biofuels are one of the best alternatives for economically replacing liquid fossil fuels with a fungible renewable energy source. Production of fuel from algae is technically feasible but not yet economically viable."
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the University of Maryland, "Harvest of dilute algal biomass from the surrounding water remains one of the largest barriers to economic production of algal biofuel. We identified Bacillus sp. strain RP1137 in a previous study and showed that this strain can rapidly aggregate several biofuel-producing algae in a pH-and divalent-cation-dependent manner. In this study, we further characterized the mechanism of algal aggregation by RP1137. We show that aggregation of both algae and bacteria is optimal in the exponential phase of growth and that the density of ionizable residues on the RP1137 cell surface changes with growth stage. Aggregation likely occurs via charge neutralization with calcium ions at the cell surface of both algae and bacteria. We show that charge neutralization occurs at least in part through binding of calcium to negatively charged teichoic acid residues. The addition of calcium also renders both algae and bacteria more able to bind to hydrophobic beads, suggesting that aggregation may occur through hydrophobic interactions."
According to the news editors, the research concluded: "Knowledge of the aggregation mechanism may enable engineering of RP1137 to obtain more efficient algal harvesting."
For more information on this research see: Mechanism of Algal Aggregation by Bacillus sp Strain RP1137. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2014;80(13):4042-4050. Applied and Environmental Microbiology can be contacted at: Amer Soc Microbiology, 1752 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036-2904, USA. (American Society for Microbiology - www.asm.org; Applied and Environmental Microbiology - aem.asm.org)
The news correspondents report that additional information may be obtained from R.J. Powell, University of Maryland, Center Environm Sci, Inst Marine & Environm Technol, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States (see also Environmental Microbiology).
Keywords for this news article include: Biotechnology, Energy, Biofuel, Maryland, Baltimore, Oil and Gas, United States, Bioengineering, North and Central America, Environmental Microbiology
Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC