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Highlights of the Biophysical Society 56th Annual Meeting
Date:2/6/2012

The latest news and discoveries in medicine, physics, environmental science, and interdisciplinary fields will be featured at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society (BPS), held Feb. 25 - Feb. 29, 2012, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif. With more than 4,000 poster presentations, 200 exhibits, 20 symposia, and 6,000 research scientists in attendance each year, the BPS Annual Meeting is the largest meeting of biophysicists in the world.

Journalists are invited to attend the conference free of charge. For more information or to register, please see below.

The following summaries highlight a few of the meeting's many noteworthy talks.

HIGHLIGHTS: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26

Microbes May Be Engineered to Help Trap Harmful CO2 Underground: Among the methods being considered for removing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is sequestering the gas in porous rock deep below the ground. But the mineralization process required to permanently trap this greenhouse gas is extremely slow, sometimes taking hundreds to thousands of years. Bacteria might help speed things up, says a team led by researchers at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory's Center for Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2 (NCGC). Using different surface bacteria as proxies for their deeper-dwelling cousins, the researchers first examined the microbes' effect on calcium carbonate formation, and discovered that all of the species accelerated the process. The rate, they report, was highest in microbes whose surfaces had a thin protein shell known as an S-layer. The researchers suspected that the negative charge of the S-layer attracted positive calcium ions and brought them in proximity with carbonate. To test this theory, the researchers engineered artificial S-layers and increased their negative charge by attaching a loop of six amino acids. When carbonate was introduced, nucleation was significantly increased. The next step will
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Contact: Ellen Weiss
eweiss@biophysics.org
240-290-5606
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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