Clara Chan/UC Berkeley
Acidophilic microbes thrive in this biofilm growing inside an abandoned mine at Iron Mountain, Calif. The microbes metabolism creates highly toxic acid mine drainage, a major environmental problem associated with the mining of coal and uranium.
Clara Chan/UC Berkeley
Close-up view of biofilm growing onto the water from the pyrite surface of the Richmond mine.
When humans gather in communities, they specialize and adapt. Farmers grow crops and raise animals for food based on the area’s climate and soil. Builders fashion structures engineered to keep their inhabitants warm in winter and cool in summer. Physicians tend to the sick; police and firefighters protect the public.
Communities of microorganisms, researchers are finding, exhibit very similar behavior – genetically evolving, specializing and cooperating in ways that allow them to adapt to extreme conditions of temperature, acidity, toxicity and pressure.
In the first comprehensive study of gene expression in a microbial community from an “extreme” natural environment, scientists from Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge national laboratories, the University of California, Berkeley, and Xavier University in New Orleans have identified more than 2,000 proteins produced by five key species in the community. More than 500 of the proteins – chains of amino acids linked together in an order specified by a gene’s DNA sequence – appear to be unique to the community, which thrives in hot, highly acidic conditions in an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site at an abandoned mine at Iron Mountain, Calif. A report on the research, “Community Proteomics of a Natural Microbial Biofilm,” appears online today in Science Express.
Charlie Osolin | EurekAlert!
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There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
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New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
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Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
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