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Man-made photosynthesis to revolutionize food and energy production
Date:2/17/2012

nt photosynthesis to improve photosynthetic efficiency we would see an increase in agricultural productivity for the production of food and renewable energy."

Capturing 'wasted' solar energy

Professor Anne Jones from Arizona State University is looking at other ways to ensure the sun's energy is not wasted.

Cyanobacteria (bacteria that get their energy from photosynthesis) can absorb much more solar energy than they can utilize. Professor Jones's research seeks to develop a mechanism to take advantage of this excess, wasted energy by transferring it to a fuel-producing cell.

Professor Jones said: "We want to couple the photosynthetic apparatus in one bacterial species to the fuel-producing metabolism of a second species. We could then funnel excess energy directly into fuel production. It would see two biological systems working together to make fuel from the sun's energy."

A simple analogy is a power station that isn't connected to the distribution grid. Unconnected, the excess energy goes to waste. The researchers hope to create a connection that will transfer this energy to make fuel. This connection could be provided by hair-like electrically conductive filaments called pili.

Professor Jones explains: "Certain bacteria naturally grow conductive filaments called pili. These pili could be exploited to transfer energy between the cells we want to use."


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Contact: Rob Dawson
robert.dawson@bbsrc.ac.uk
01-793-413-204
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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