“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.
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Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
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Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
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