Showing posts with label Microbiology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Microbiology. Show all posts

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Gut Microbiomes Help Bears with Very Different Diets Reach the Same Size

Photo credit: National Park Service.

A recent study of the gut microbiome of Alaskan brown bears (Ursus arctos) shows that the microbial life in bears’ guts allows them to achieve comparable size and fat stores while eating widely different diets. The work sheds light on the role of the gut microbiome in supporting health in wild omnivores.

“We think of bears as having simple digestive tracts, so it’s easy to slip into thinking that they therefore have simple gut microbiomes,” says Erin McKenney, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of applied ecology at North Carolina State University. “But this study shows there can be tremendous diversity in the gut microbiomes between individual bears, and that this variation can be very important to the physical condition of these animals.”

“For example, the amount of fat that bears are able to store is absolutely critical to the health of wild populations,” says Grant Hilderbrand, co-author of the study and associate regional director for resources for the National Park Service in Alaska. “If female bears are able to reach levels where 19-20% of their body mass in the autumn is fat, they’ll reproduce. And knowing that they can take different dietary paths to reach those fat levels is a valuable insight.”

For this study, researchers collected fecal samples from 51 adult brown bears in three national parks: Katmai National Park and Preserve, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, and Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Mysterious soil virus gene seen for first time

Crystals of the soil virus AMG product (chitosanase) at 400x magnification. Individual crystals were cryo-cooled in liquid nitrogen before being exposed to the powerful SSRL X-rays beams for structure analysis.
Credit: Clyde Smith/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

In every handful of soil, there are billions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, all working to sustain the cycle of life. Understanding how these microorganisms interact with one another helps scientists analyze soil health, soil carbon and nutrient cycling, and even the ways in which dead insects decompose.

Soil viruses contain genes that appear to have some metabolic function, but they are clearly not required for normal viral replication. These genes are called auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) and they produce proteins, some of which are enzymes that have a variety of functions. Until now, scientists have wondered whether some AMG proteins play a role in critical soil processes, like carbon cycling. To find out more about soil AMGs, researchers determined the atomic structure of a protein that is expressed by a particular AMG.

Specifically, researchers irradiated fragile crystallized protein samples with high-brightness X-rays generated by the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource’s (SSRL) Beam Line 12-2 at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The X-rays struck the proteins within the crystal samples, revealing their molecular structures and a bit of the mystery behind their makeup.

AMGs do not, like many viral genes, help a virus replicate. Instead, they encode a variety of proteins, each with their own predicted function. The AMG that was expressed was a putative enzyme that plays a key role in how soils process and cycle carbon in the biosphere.

Scientists Unveil New System for Naming Majority of the World’s Microorganisms

Fluorescent-stained bacteria (pink) and archaea (green) from near-boiling water from Great Boiling Spring in Gerlach, Nevada.
Photo credit: Jeremy Dodsworth.

What’s in a name? For microorganisms, apparently a lot.

Prokaryotes are single-celled microorganisms - bacteria are an example - that are abundant the world over. They exist in the oceans, in soils, in extreme environments like hot springs, and even alongside and inside other organisms including humans.

In short, they’re everywhere, and scientists worldwide are working to both categorize and communicate about them. But here’s the rub: Most don’t have a name.

Less than 0.2% of known prokaryotes have been formally named because current regulations – described in the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) – require new species to be grown in a lab and freely distributed as pure and viable cultures in collections. Essentially, to name it you have to have multiple physical specimens to prove it.

In an article published in the journal Nature Microbiology, a team of scientists present a new system, the SeqCode, and a corresponding registration portal that could help microbiologists effectively categorize and communicate about the massive number of identified yet uncultivated prokaryotes.

A new study explains the relationship between diabetes and urinary tract infections

The picture shows large lumps of E. coli (in red) that infects the bladder of a mouse with diabetes.
 Photo: Soumitra Mohanty

Reduced immune systems and recurrent infections are common in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Now researchers at Karolinska Institutet show that people with diabetes have lower levels of the antimicrobial peptide psoriasis, which is part of the body's immune system, which impacts the leaves' cell barrier with increased risk of urinary tract infection. The study is published in Nature Communications.

Diabetes is due to insulin deficiency or reduced insulin sensitivity. The hormone insulin regulates glucose (sugar) and thus energy to the body's cells. In people with type 1 diabetes, the body has stopped making insulin and in type 2 diabetes, cells have become less sensitive to insulin, which contributes to high blood glucose levels. Diabetes is a common disease that affects health in several ways.

Among other things, the innate immune system determinants and many get recurrent infections, such as urinary tract infections caused by E. colibacteria. In people with diabetes, there is an increased risk that these will lead to general blood poisoning, sepsis, which is based on the urinary tract.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Data science reveals universal rules shaping cells’ power stations

Painted in the same style: scientists have shown that the same principles shape the evolution of chloroplasts (left), mitochondria (right), and other symbionts across life.
Photo credit: Iain Johnston and Sigrid Johnston-Røyrvik.

In the article, an international team of researchers, led by Professor Iain Johnston at the University of Bergen, explains how these rules determine why these organelles retain their own DNA instead of losing it to the host cells.

The research is part of a wider project funded by the European Research Council (ERC), and builds on findings the research group has previously published about mitochondria. Learn more about this in a previous Science article.

Same "rules" determine development

Mitochondria are compartments – so-called “organelles” -- in our cells that provide the chemical energy supply we need to move, think, and live. Chloroplasts are organelles in plants and algae that capture sunlight and perform photosynthesis. At a first glance, they might look worlds apart. But an international team of researchers, led by the University of Bergen, have used data science and computational biology to show that the same “rules” have shaped how both organelles – and more – have evolved throughout life’s history.

Decoding how bacteria talk with each other

Bacillus cereus, SEM image
Credit: Mogana Das Murtey and Patchamuthu Ramasamy, CC BY-SA 3.0

Bacteria, the smallest living organisms in the world, form communities where unified bodies of individuals live together, contribute a share of the property and share common interests.

The soil around a plant’s roots contains millions of organisms interacting constantly — too many busy players to study at once, despite the importance of understanding how microbes mingle.

In a study published in the journal mBio, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison learned that a drastically scaled-down model of a microbial community makes it possible to observe some of the complex interactions. In doing so, they discovered a key player in microbial communication: the presence or absence of an antibiotic compound produced by one of the community members affected the behavior of the other two members.

Little is understood about how individual microbes interact with each other in communities, but that knowledge holds incredible promise.

For example, the bacteria Bacillus cereus can protect plants by producing an antibiotic that deters the pathogen that causes “damping off,” a disease that kills seedlings and is costly to farmers. But biocontrol agents like B. cereus are not always effective. Sometimes plants treated with B. cereus flourish, sometimes they don’t — and researchers are trying to understand why.

Mexican mangroves have been capturing carbon for 5,000 years

Unusual forests on stilts mitigate climate change
Credit: Ramiro Arcos Aguilar/UCSD

Researchers have identified a new reason to protect mangrove forests: they’ve been quietly keeping carbon out of Earth’s atmosphere for the past 5,000 years.

Mangroves thrive in conditions most plants cannot tolerate, like salty coastal waters. Some species have air-conducting, vertical roots that act like snorkels when tides are high, giving the appearance of trees floating on stilts.

A UC Riverside and UC San Diego-led research team set out to understand how marine mangroves off the coast of La Paz, Mexico, absorb and release elements like nitrogen and carbon, processes called biogeochemical cycling.

As these processes are largely driven by microbes, the team also wanted to learn which bacteria and fungi are thriving there.

The team expected that carbon would be found in the layer of peat beneath the forest, but they did not expect that carbon to be 5,000 years old. This result, along with a description of the microbes they identified, is now published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Pioneering research using bacteria brings scientists a step closer to creating artificial cells with lifelike functionality

Amoeba-shaped bacteriogenic protocell: membrane (red boundary); nucleus (blue); cytoskeleton (red filaments); vacuole (red circle); ATP production (green). Scale bar, 5 μm.
Credit: Professor Stephen Mann and Dr Can Xu

Scientists have harnessed the potential of bacteria to help build advanced synthetic cells which mimic real life functionality.

The research, led by the University of Bristol and published today in Nature, makes important progress in deploying synthetic cells, known as protocells, to more accurately represent the complex compositions, structure, and function of living cells.

Establishing true-to-life functionality in protocells is a global grand challenge spanning multiple fields, ranging from bottom-up synthetic biology and bioengineering to origin of life research. Previous attempts to model protocells using microcapsules have fallen short, so the team of researchers turned to bacteria to build complex synthetic cells using a living material assembly process.

Professor Stephen Mann from the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry, and the Max Planck Bristol Centre for Minimal Biologytogether with colleagues Drs Can Xu, Nicolas Martin (currently at the University of Bordeaux) and Mei Li in the Bristol Centre for Protolife Research have demonstrated an approach to the construction of highly complex protocells using viscous micro-droplets filled with living bacteria as a microscopic building site.

Crime in the realm of bacteria

Christine Kaimer (left) and Susanne Thiery have investigated how soil bacteria fight each other.
Credit: RUB, Marquard

Who would have thought of bacteria: they can sneak up other microorganisms to kill and eat them up.

Bacteria have a variety of survival strategies to provide sufficient food in their densely populated habitats. Certain types of bacteria kill microorganisms of another type, decompose the cells and absorb them as nutrients. How this works is usually unknown. A research team on the biology of microorganisms around Dr. Christine Kaimer examined these processes in more detail. Together with colleagues from the USA, the researchers at the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) report in the journal Cell Reports on 13. September 2022.

Stop at contact

So far, little is known about the relationship between robbers and prey in the realm of bacteria. However, researchers suspect that bacterial predators can greatly change the composition of a microbiome and thus influence the ecology of their habitat. To learn more about bacterial predator-prey relationships, Christine Kaimer's team examined the predator bacterium Myxococcus xanthus, that often occurs in the ground. It has recently become known that M. xanthus kills his prey cell in direct cell-cell contact: the predator approaches a prey cell, stops when a contact is made, and then causes cell death and decomposition within a few minutes. The researchers examined the molecular mechanisms of this process in more detail.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Mothers Influence Gut Microbial Development in Wild Primates

A baby gelada foraging in Simien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia. Their early-life gut microbiome, from infancy through first years of life, are shown to be influenced by bacteria likely passed down from mom.
Credit: Sharmi Sen

The bacteria that reside in the human gut (“the gut microbiome”) are known to play beneficial and harmful roles in human health. Because these bacteria are transmitted through milk, mothers can directly impact the composition of bacteria that their offspring harbor, potentially giving moms another pathway to influence their infant’s future development and health. A study of wild geladas (a non-human primate that lives in Ethiopia) provides the first evidence of clear and significant maternal effects on the gut microbiome both before and after weaning in a wild mammal. This finding, published in Current Biology, suggests the impact of mothers on the offspring gut microbiome community extends far beyond when the infant has stopped nursing.

A research team co-led by Stony Brook University anthropologist Amy Lu, and biologists Alice Baniel and Noah Snyder-Mackler at Arizona State University, came to this conclusion by analyzing one of the largest datasets on gut microbiome development in a wild mammal.

“Early life gut microbial development is known to have a large impact on later life health in humans and other model organisms,” said Lu, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University. “Now we have solid evidence that mothers can influence this process, both before and after weaning. Although we’re not 100% certain how mothers do this, one possible explanation is that they transfer specific bacteria to their offspring.”

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Chlamydia’s Stealthy Cloaking Device Identified

Left: Chlamydia (green) surrounded by the GarD protein (red) that cloaks it from detection. Right: Chlamydia with GarD knocked out (green) enveloped by antimicrobial ubiquitin proteins (yellow) and RNF213 (magenta).
Credit: Stephen C. Walsh, Duke University

Chlamydia, the leading cause of sexually transmitted bacterial infections, evades detection and elimination inside human cells by use of a cloaking device. But Duke University researchers have grasped the hem of that invisibility cloak and now hope they can pull it apart.

To enter the cell and peacefully reproduce, many pathogenic bacteria, including Chlamydia, cloak themselves in a piece of the cell’s membrane, forming an intracellular free-floating bubble called a vacuole or, in the case of Chlamydia, an inclusion. Chlamydia's cloak appears to be especially effective at evading the cell’s built-in immunity, allowing the infection to last for months.

A Duke team led by graduate student Stephen Walsh and Jörn Coers, PhD, an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology in the Duke School of Medicine, wanted to know how the cloaking worked.

“We knew there was the potential to kill Chlamydia, but when we did experiments with the human-adapted form, Chlamydia trachomatis, it was very good at growing in human cell cultures,” Coers said. Even after the scientists used an immune stimulant to alert the cell’s defense systems of the presence of Chlamydia, nothing happened. “We said, there’s the pathogen. Our defense system should see it. Why does it not see it?”

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Researchers construct the most complex, complete synthetic microbiome

A bacterial cell culture from the Fischbach lab.
Image credit: L.A. Cicero

The microbial community of over 100 bacterial species could help scientists learn more about the connections between the microbiome and human health.

Key studies in the last decade have shown that the gut microbiome, the collection of hundreds of bacterial species that live in the human digestive system, influences neural development, response to cancer immunotherapies, and other aspects of health. But these communities are complex and without systematic ways to study the constituents, the exact cells and molecules linked with certain diseases remain a mystery.

Stanford University researchers have built the most complex and well-defined synthetic microbiome, creating a community of over 100 bacterial species that were successfully transplanted into mice. The ability to add, remove, and edit individual species will allow scientists to better understand the links between the microbiome and health, and eventually develop first-in-class microbiome therapies.

Many key microbiome studies have been done using fecal transplants, which introduce the entire, natural microbiome from one organism to another. While scientists routinely silence a gene or remove a protein from a specific cell or even an entire mouse, there is no such set of tools to remove or modify one species among the hundreds in a given fecal sample.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Revealed missing step in lipid formation could enable detection of past climate

A team from Penn State and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has determined the missing step in the formation of a molecule called GDGT, which is a promising candidate for use as an indicator of past climate. The team determined the X-ray crystal structure of an enzyme that facilitates this process called GDGT/MAS—shown here bound to additional cofactors.
Credit: Booker Lab | Pennsylvania State University

The missing step in the formation of a lipid molecule that allows certain single-celled organisms to survive the most extreme environments on Earth has now been deciphered. This new understanding, uncovered by a team of biochemists from Penn State and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, could improve the ability of the lipids to be used as an indicator of temperature across geological time.

The lipid, called glycerol dibiphytanyl glycerol tetraether (GDGT), is found in the cell membrane of some species of archaea, single-celled organisms that were originally thought to be bacteria but now are considered a separate group. This lipid provides the stability for some species to thrive in environments with extremely high temperatures, salinity or acidity, like thermal vents in the ocean, hot springs and hypersaline waters. The unique stability of GDGT also allows it to be detected hundreds or even thousands of years after the organism dies. Because these organisms tend to produce more GDGT at higher temperatures, it is considered a promising candidate for estimating temperature over geologic time.

“For GDGT to be accurately used as a proxy to reconstruct changes in geological temperatures, scientists need to better understand how it is made, what genes code for it, and which species can create it,” said Squire Booker, a biochemist at Penn State, an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and leader of the research team. “But, until now, there has been a missing step in the formation of this lipid. We used imaging techniques coupled with chemical and biochemical methods to deconstruct the chemical pathway for this missing step.”

Monday, August 22, 2022

Caterpillar-like bacteria crawling in our mouth

Confocal microscope image of the caterpillar-like bacterium Conchiformibius steedae, up to 7 µm long, incubated with fluorescently labelled cell wall precursors to follow its cell growth
Credit: CC BY 4.0 Philipp Weber and Silvia Bulgheresi

Likely to survive in the oral cavity, bacteria evolved to divide along their longitudinal axis without parting from one another. A research team co-led by environmental cell biologist Silvia Bulgheresi from the University of Vienna and microbial geneticist Frédéric Veyrier from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) just published their new insights in Nature Communications. In their work, they described the division mode of these caterpillar-like bacteria and their evolution from a rod-shaped ancestor. They propose to establish Neisseriaceae oral bacteria as new model organisms that could help pinpoint new antimicrobial targets.

Although our mouth houses over 700 species of bacteria and its microbiota is, therefore, as diverse as that of our gut, not much is known about how oral bacteria grow and divide. The mouth is a tough place to live in for bacteria. The epithelial cells lining the inner surface of the oral cavity are constantly shed and, together with salivary flow, organisms that inhabit this surface will therefore struggle for attachment. It is perhaps better to stick to our mouth that bacteria of the family Neisseriaceae have evolved a new way to multiply. Whereas typical rods split transversally and then detach from each other, some commensal Neisseriaceae that live in our mouths, however, attach to the substrate with their tips and divide longitudinally – along their long axis. In addition to that, once cell division is completed, they remain attached to one another forming caterpillar-like filaments. Some cells in the resulting filament also adopt different shapes, possibly to perform specific functions to the benefit of the whole filament. The researchers explain: "Multicellularity makes cooperation between cells possible, for example in the form of division of labor, and may therefore help bacteria to survive nutritional stress."

Thursday, August 11, 2022

MIT scientists discover new antiviral defense system in bacteria

A team led by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT has discovered that organisms across all three domains of life — bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes (which includes plants and animals) — use pattern recognition of conserved viral proteins to defend against pathogens.
Credits: Image courtesy of Feng Zhang

Bacteria use a variety of defense strategies to fight off viral infection, and some of these systems have led to groundbreaking technologies, such as CRISPR-based gene-editing. Scientists predict there are many more antiviral weapons yet to be found in the microbial world.

A team led by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT has discovered and characterized one of these unexplored microbial defense systems. They found that certain proteins in bacteria and archaea (together known as prokaryotes) detect viruses in surprisingly direct ways, recognizing key parts of the viruses and causing the single-celled organisms to commit suicide to quell the infection within a microbial community. The study is the first time this mechanism has been seen in prokaryotes and shows that organisms across all three domains of life — bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes (which includes plants and animals) — use pattern recognition of conserved viral proteins to defend against pathogens.

The study appears in Science.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Study Reveals How the Ovarian Reserve Is Established

Female mammals have a limited number of follicles that can form eggs, called the ovarian reserve. New work at UC Davis shows that the PRC1 gene complex is responsible for establishing the ovarian reserve and plays a role in fertility.
Credit: Mengwen Hu, UC Davis

Fertility is finite for mammalian females. From birth, females possess a limited number of primordial follicles, collectively called the ovarian reserve. Within each follicle is an oocyte that eventually becomes an egg. But with age, the follicles in the ovarian reserve decrease.

“Despite its fundamental importance, our understanding of how the ovarian reserve is established and maintained remains poor,” said Professor Satoshi Namekawa, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Davis.

Researchers define the epigenetic machinery that governs the establishment and function of the mammalian ovarian reserve, providing molecular insights into female reproductive health and lifespan, in a new study published Aug. 10 in Nature Communications. Epigenetics refers to changes that influence how genes work without altering DNA itself. Lead scientists on the paper include Namekawa, project scientist Mengwen Hu and UC Davis Professors Richard Schultz and Neil Hunter.

“In human females over the age of 35, you see a decline in fertility,” said Namekawa. “Our study may give us the foundation to understand how female fertility is established and maintained at the molecular level and why it declines with age.”

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Researchers unveil key processes in marine microbial evolution

Microbial eukaryotes have made hundreds of great leaps from sea to land, which would explain today's great biodiversity
Credit: Albert Reñé.

An international study in which the ICM-CSIC has participated has reconstructed the evolutionary history of microbial diversity over the last 2,000 million years.

A study published recently in the prestigious journal Nature Ecology and Evolution has unveiled some of the key processes in marine microbial evolution. According to the study, led by the Uppsala University (Sweden) and with the participation of the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) of Barcelona, it is the large number of habitat transitions -from sea to land and vice versa- that have occurred in the last millions of years that explains the great current diversity.

According to the authors, "crossing the salinity barrier is not easy for organisms and, when this happens, the resulting transitions are key evolutionary events that can trigger explosions of diversity". However, until now it was not known how frequent these transitions have been in the eukaryotic tree of life, which comprises animals, plants and a wide variety of eukaryotic microorganisms.

Small but very versatile

Specifically, the work published now has shown that microbial eukaryotes have made hundreds of great leaps from sea to land, and also to freshwater habitats, and vice versa, during their evolution. This, in turn, has made it possible to deduce where the ancestors of each of the microbial eukaryote groups were found.

"Thanks to the fact that we have good phylogenetic trees and samples from different environments, we have been able to analyze the habitat transitions in different groups of eukaryotes, which have been hundreds of times during millions of years of eukaryotic evolution, which is more than we thought," explains Ramon Massana, ICM-CSIC researcher and one of the authors of the study.

Monday, August 1, 2022

New Method to Promote Biofilm Formation and Increase Efficiency of Biocatalysis

 The researchers screened synthetic polymers for their ability to induce biofilm formation in a strain of E. coli (MC4100), which is known to be poor at forming biofilms. They also monitored the biomass and biocatalytic activity of both MC4100 and PHL644 (a good biofilm former), incubated the presence of these polymers, and found that MC4100 matched and even outperformed PHL644.
Credit: EzumeImages

Birmingham scientists have revealed a new method to increase efficiency in biocatalysis, in a paper published today in Materials Horizons.

Biocatalysis uses enzymes, cells or microbes to catalyze chemical reactions, and is used in settings such as the food and chemical industries to make products that are not accessible by chemical synthesis. It can produce pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, or food ingredients on an industrial scale.

However, a major challenge in biocatalysis is that the most commonly used microbes, such as probiotics and non-pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli, are not necessarily good at forming biofilms, the growth promoting ecosystems that form a protective micro-environment around communities of microbes and increase their resilience and so boost productivity.

This problem is normally solved by genetic engineering, but researchers Dr Tim Overton from the university’s School of Chemical Engineering, and Dr Francisco Fernández Trillo from the School of Chemistry*, both of whom are members of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection, set out to create an alternative method to bypass this costly and time-consuming process.

The researchers identified a library of synthetic polymers and screened them for their ability to induce biofilm formation in E. coli, a bacterium that is one of the most widely studied micro-organisms, and commonly used in biocatalysis.

Friday, July 29, 2022

It Doesn’t Matter Much Which Fiber You Choose – Just Get More Fiber!

There are lots of choices on the drug store shelves, but which fiber supplement is the right one for you? All of them help, say Duke researchers.
Credit: Duke photo

That huge array of dietary fiber supplements in the drugstore or grocery aisle can be overwhelming to a consumer. They make all sorts of health claims too, not being subject to FDA review and approval. So how do you know which supplement works and would be best for you?

A rigorous examination of the gut microbes of study participants who were fed three different kinds of supplements in different sequences concludes that people who had been eating the least amount of fiber before the study showed the greatest benefit from supplements, regardless of which ones they consumed.

“The people who responded the best had been eating the least fiber to start with,” said study leader Lawrence David, an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University.

The benefit of dietary fiber isn’t just the easier pooping that advertisers tout. Fermentable fiber -- dietary carbohydrates that the human gut cannot process on its own but some bacteria can digest -- is also an essential source of nutrients that your gut microbes need to stay healthy.

“We’ve evolved to depend on nutrients that our microbiomes produce for us,” said Zack Holmes, former PhD student in the David lab and co-author on two new papers about fiber. “But with recent shifts in diet away from fiber-rich foods, we’ve stopped feeding our microbes what they need.”

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Monash microbiologist to convert greenhouse gases into sustainable pet food

(L-R) Dr Rachael Lappan and A/Prof Chris Greening
Credit: Monash University

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has announced today that Monash University will receive $5 million funding to lead a new Research Hub to develop cutting-edge technologies to transform greenhouse gas emissions from the energy and manufacturing sectors into valuable products.

Monash University will partner with seven national and international academic organizations, as well as 22 industry partners including Woodside Energy, to form the ARC Research Hub for Carbon Utilization and Recycling.

Monash will use new electrochemical, thermochemical, and biochemical methods to convert the climate-active gases carbon dioxide and methane into useful products. It will also drive new policy mechanisms to support early-stage market development of products and technologies to help drive industry transformation.

The Monash arm of the biochemical conversion node will be led by Associate Professor Chris Greening, an award-winning microbiologist who heads Monash BDI’s Health in a Changing World Program.

His team will convert gases produced by the energy, agriculture, and waste sectors into protein-rich pet and fish foods. To do so, they will use bacteria that grow on gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen alone.

Featured Article

Robot sleeves for kids with cerebral palsy

Experimental setup for earlier iteration of the proposed robot sleeves. Credit: Jonathan Realmuto/UCR UC Riverside engineers are developing ...

Top Viewed Articles