A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) has developed a powerful new tool that promises to unlock the secrets of biomass degradation. Understanding the chemical activities needed is a critical step in the development of cost-effective cellulose based biofuel creation. Getting out the potential of cellulosic biofuels requires developing efficient strategies to extract the sugar molecules in biomass polymers such as cellulose. Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi are capable of converting biomass to simple sugars, but through science’s history of biology they’ve been difficult to study using genetic approaches. The scientist’s breakthrough makes it possible to perform genetic analysis on Cellvibrio japonicus, a promising bacterium that has long been known to convert biomass to sugars. Using a technique called vector integration, the team has developed a method to generate a mutation in any gene within the organism. As a test of the technique, the team constructed a mutation that inactivated a key component of a protein complex called a Type II Secretion System, and the disruption of this system prevented the bacterium from efficiently converting biomass into sugars. That proves for the first time that Cellvibrio uses the Type II Secretion System to secrete key enzymes for breakdown of biomass polymerase, thus providing key insight into how this bacterium obtains sugars from biomass.
Dec 7, 2013 Sponge Comments Off
The Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology Graduate School has announced electrode materials made by adding lithium iron phosphate (positive-electrode material, LiFePO4) and tin oxide (negative-electrode material, SnO2), respectively, inside carbon. The new process drastically improves the performance of the materials in lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable batteries by using an ultracentrifugal processing technology to add an active material inside carbon. The ultracentrifugal processing technology was developed by K&W, a venture firm spun off from the university. It is a kind of mechanochemical processing and makes materials in a centrifugal force field by using a ‘sol-gel’ method. The actual working of the technology seems a bit, understandably, hush, hush. Kenji Tamamitsu, chief of the Functionality Materials Lab at the Basic Research Headquarters of Nippon Chemi-Con said, “We found that the ultracentrifugal processing technology enables adding a variety of active materials inside carbon and enhance the performance. We would like to utilize it for battery materials in the future.” The research was conducted at the university’s Naoi Laboratory by the participants of the “Capacitor Technology Lecture,” a project funded by Nippon Chemi-Con Corp, at the university. Nippon Chemi-Con is saying that it plans to discuss the commercialization of the high-performance Li-ion battery using the new electrode materials at an early date. The company has various options including providing high-performance materials and directly selling batteries. Ultra Centrifugal Cherry Type Lithium Iron Phosphate.
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