Prof. Verstraete will explain how his team have developed a new anaerobic digestion reactor which can generate as much electricity as 25 wind turbines. These reactors use a consortium of methanogenic (methane-producing) bacteria to degrade waste and energy crops to produce biogas (a mixture of methane and carbon) which is then converted to electricity using a turbine.
We were reminded of the threat of pandemic infectious disease with the swine flu (Influenza A H1N1) pandemic of last year. Prof. Verstraete and his team have produced nanosilver particles from silver ions using the 'good bacteria' Lactobacillus. These particles can kill the highly infectious norovirus and could potentially be used as therapy against other viruses such as influenza.
Microbes have long been used for decontamination and bioremediation. Prof. Verstraete and his team, through funding by the EU's "LIFE" project, have isolated Desulphitobacterium dichloroeleminans – a bacterium which can be injected into ground water sites to decontaminate them from chlorinated waste such as chlorinated alkanes - the most frequently encountered contaminants in soil and groundwater.
These are just a few of the ways in which microbes can help.
"To fully understand how microbes play a part in solving our environmental problems, we must better explore our microbial resources as they currently exist - in culture collections or at 'evolved' environmental sites. We need to develop key strategies to deal with microbial communities, instead of thinking of them in terms of haphazard assemblages of bacterial species. By 'upgrading' the services of microbial communities through implementing Microbial Resource Management (MRM) and combining these communities with new technology, these environmental challenges can be addressed." said Professor Verstraete.
A pragmatic approach to solving environmental problems will be proposed at this lecture, making use of current developments in molecular methods and potential biotech solutions which are appropriate to the current market economy.
On 11 October 2010, Professor Willy Verstraete will present the third Environmental Microbiology Lecture: "Microbial Resource Management (MRM): the way forward for environmental biotechnology"
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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