BiotechnologyForums presents PAIRS: The Game of Nucleotides. Starting an era of Biology Games    
  • Welcome to Biotechnology Forums!
  • Contribution is the key to connections! Stay active and you'll benefit a lot!
  • Defeat the Difficulties!
Hello There, Guest! Login Register

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bacteria Produce Diesel Fuel
This is post no. 1 under the main topic.
Finding a sustainable energy source for the rapidly growing needs of the population is an important area of research in science. Current consumption of fossil fuels is not sustainable in the long run, and the combustion of these fuels causes the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which can harm the environment. Even providing energy for electric cars requires the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, in order to produce electricity. Although the actual machine does not produce as much pollution as a normal car, the production of energy to be used for the electric car does result in the production of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants. Clean, alternative energy sources, include wind and solar power, are gaining in popularity, but they have not been scaled up sufficiently to meet the needs of the growing population. While research continues to find cleaner energy sources, a more immediate solution might involve production of biofuels, petroleum products derived from organic sources.

Unfortunately, many of the biofuels currently being produced may cause problems for the environment. The production of these biofuels is not straightforward either, and requires many steps to get a final product that can be used. They require treatment with petroleum products, which means they may not be sustainable in the long run. In addition, growing corn crops to be used for biofuel production is causing increased costs for food, and increasing the land required for farming. The amount of land available to produce sufficient corn for both biofuel production and food is not adequate. Although many have suggested plant sources that grow more quickly that corn, require less space to grow, and will not affect the food supply, these sources have not been utilized extensively for biofuel production. Corn still remains the predominant choice for creating biofuels. Lastly, biofuels may not be structurally similar to conventional petroleum products, which would require upgrades to existing machinery in order for the fuel to be usable. For these reasons, other sources of biofuel are being investigated by energy scientists.

Recently, researchers at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with Shell, have engineered a strain of E. coli bacteria that can produce diesel fuel. This fuel is very similar in composition to traditional diesel fuel, and does not require treatment with petroleum products. Because it is so similar to traditional diesel fuel, systems that use diesel would not need to be upgraded in order to be able to use the fuel. This is a huge benefit over other biofuels, such as those produced from corn ethanol, because they do not need to be mixed with petroleum. The diesel biofuel produced by the E. coli could simply replace the conventional diesel fuel currently in use.

E. coli and other bacteria can transform organic molecules such as sugar into lipids which are inserted into the cell membrane. Lipids and diesel fuel have very similar structures. They are long chains of hydrogen and carbon, termed hydrocarbon molecules. The process of making lipids in E. coli has been modified by the researchers so that instead of producing normal lipids, the bacteria produce diesel fuel. So far, the researchers only have a small number of bacteria producing small quantities of the diesel. However, bacteria are often used in large scale production of many pharmaceuticals. Increasing the number of bacteria producing diesel and the yield would be a similar process. Once the researchers have determined that the diesel fuel being produced is adequate to be used in vehicles and industrial settings, scaling up production should be a straightforward process.

As more people become aware of the damages to the environment traditional energy sources cause, the development of cleaner, more sustainable energy becomes more important. As economies around the world begin to recover from the recessions of a few years ago, citizens will most likely be buying more products and traveling more, which will require more energy. Sustainable energy sources will become more important as demand increases, and supply decreases. In addition, laboratory produced diesel fuel and other clean, sustainable energy sources will enhance economic recovery, as fuel and energy prices will be less dynamic. The field of energy science is growing rapidly, to help keep the energy supply sufficient for human and technological growth.

This is post no. 2 under the main topic.
Hey Guys well i think that E.coli bacteria is almost similar to traditional diesel energy fuel and so does not need to be combined with oil products as is often required by biodiesels based on place oils.Thanks!!
This is post no. 3 under the main topic.
Diesel-like liquid obtained from materials of biological origin is called biodiesel. Diesel usually has 9-23 carbon atom hydrocarbons. Biodiesel can be obtained either from lipids accumulated in plants and algae or form hydrocarbons produced by some plants and algae.

1. Lipids as a source of biodiesel

Lipids are accumulated in the seeds of many plant species like sunflower, rapeseed, linseed, soybean, safflower, peanut, olive etc and by some algae. The lipids have high energy value and can be burnt to heat boilers or used as diesel engine fuel. However the oils are not easily injectible into the engine combustion chamber due to their high viscosity. This problem is overcome by producing esters of the fatty acids. The esterified lipid fatty acids constitute biodiesel and can be used in unblended form in normal diesel engine with little or no modification in the engine. Use of such a biodiesel is the limiting factor. Even so, there is a growing interest in oil seed – based biodiesel production and production capacities are being expanded in some European countries and USA. In developing countries on the other hand, vegetable oils command a much higher price than diesel; this is particularly true for edible oils. In addition, there is generally a shortage of lipids. Thus it is highly unlikely that vegetable lipid-derived biodiesel would be used on any scale in the developing countries.

Some algae may accumulate up to 60% of their biomass as lipids especially when they are grown under conditions of mineral nutrient limitation. The reduced electron carriers used for the production of new cells under conditions of nutrient efficiency are diverted to produce lipids under nutrition deficient conditions. Efforts are being made to develop these algae as valuable sources of lipids to be used for producing biodiesel.

2. Biodiesel from Hydrocarbons

Several plant species and some algae accumulate hydrocarbons, which can be used as fuel. The plant species producing hydrocarbons usually accumulate them in the form of latex. Such plants are mainly of the following three types – members of the family Euphorbiaceae, milkweeds and a leguminous tropical tree called Copaifera multijuga.

The euphorbeans and milkweeds can be grown in relatively dry environments on lands not suited for crop production; this makes them highly attractive sources of biofuels. The Euphorbias are emulsified in water. Removal of water yields a liquid that has hydrocarbons having lower molecular weight than those of those present in petrol.

The leguminous tree Copaifera multijuga is a native of Brazil, fixes nitrogen in its root nodules (which makes its cultivation less dependent on nitrogenous fertilizers), and grows up to 30 m height. It can be tapped twice a year like maple or rubber trees, and produces large volumes of a liquid, which is quite similar to diesel oil. C. multijuga is perhaps the most promising source of biodiesel.

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
Information Role of Bacteria in Environment NatashaKundi 18 175,468 01-12-2015, 11:48 PM
Last Post: mtwalsh01

Browsing: 1 Guest(s)