“This award positions a very talented team to collaboratively apply DOE’s unique facilities in genomics and systems biology to the important challenge of sustainable bioenergy production,” said Grant Heffelfinger, biofuels program lead for Sandia.
“We normally think of biofuels-relevant ecosystems as those where substantial amounts of biomass is produced and broken down, but this is an excellent example of the relevance of biodiversity across ecosystems — both for the advancement of systems biology as well as biofuels production.”
Microorganisms in aridland ecosystems have evolved high-efficiency recycling systems to cope with severe nutrient scarcity, extreme temperatures and low water availability. Genes underlying these adaptations offer great potential in industrial-scale processes designed to convert plant material cheaply and efficiently into biofuels.
The project’s sequencing effort will focus on microorganisms associated with the roots of a common grass species, blue grama, and will interface with ongoing environmental change experiments at the UNM’s Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research site in central New Mexico.
“This award will enable us to better understand the metabolic potential of microbial communities native to extreme environments,” said Don Natvig, professor of biology at UNM. “This understanding can in turn be applied to real-world problems, such as biofuels production inefficiencies and greenhouse gas management technologies.”
Biofuels research and environmental change studies are united by the urgent need to develop sustainable energy sources, and to understand and mitigate the environmental effects of spiraling greenhouse gas emissions. In terms of renewable energy, the study will drive the commercial development of new products useful in the breakdown of lignocellulosic biomass, the starting material for production of biofuels.
From an environmental sciences perspective, the award will enable researchers to study and monitor the effects of altered patterns of fire, precipitation, increasing temperatures and atmospheric pollution on ecosystem structure and function.
The scientific team includes Amy Powell and Bryce Ricken from Sandia; Don Natvig, Scott Collins, Robert Sinsabaugh, Andrea Porras-Alfaro and Diego Martinez from the Department of Biology at UNM; Blake Simmons of Sandia and JBEI; Ralph Dean of NCSU-CIFR; and Randy Berka of Novozymes.
The total sequencing resources allocated to the project by DOE will be the equivalent of that required to analyze several microbial genomes or a significant fraction of the human genome, which contains approximately three billion base pairs of DNA.
Established in 2005, the JGI’s Community Sequencing Program (CSP) provides the scientific community at large with free access to high-throughput sequencing at DOE JGI for projects of relevance to DOE missions. Sequencing projects are chosen based on scientific merit — judged through independent peer review — and relevance to issues in bioenergy, global carbon cycling and biogeochemistry. For more information, see: http://www.jgi.doe.gov/CSP/index.html.
Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.
One step closer to reality
20.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie
The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver
20.04.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy