Navigation Links
Researchers unearth bioenergy potential in leaf-cutter ant communities

r ant garden lie in its complexity. A peek into UW-Madison's resident colony in the Microbial Sciences Building reveals a metropolis of brown insects bustling around the pale, pitted surface of the fungus garden, many with leaf sections held aloft. The strong resemblance to a small city drives home the point that energy production in such a meticulously coordinated system would be difficult to replicate in a lab or a bio-refinery.

"In an industrial setting, you need a system that's reproducible, sustainable, controlled and that produces a consistent level of ethanol," Suen says.

A potential alternative to re-creating these natural processes is to extract, replicate and purify biomass-degrading enzymes synthetically. New enzymes could be added to known combinations and tested for their ability to break down biofuel feedstocks. However, this process can be time-consuming and costly.

To put their findings in perspective, the researchers plan to study other insects in addition to ants, including certain species of termites and beetles, which also act as gardeners in fungal communities. They hope that a better understanding of these complex systems will help them share their biomass-degrading secrets with bioenergy researchers.

"It's difficult to think that we can actually find a process that improves on nature," says Aylward, "so it probably makes sense to learn from it."


Contact: Frank Aylward
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
2. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
3. Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one
4. UNH researchers find African farmers need better climate change data to improve farming practices
5. Ottawa researchers to lead world-first clinical trial of stem cell therapy for septic shock
6. Researchers uncover molecular pathway through which common yeast becomes fungal pathogen
7. Researchers print live cells with a standard inkjet printer
8. Columbia Engineering and Penn researchers increase speed of single-molecule measurements
9. Researchers reveal how a single gene mutation leads to uncontrolled obesity
10. Researchers discover novel therapy for Crohns disease
11. New paper by Notre Dame researchers describes method for cleaning up nuclear waste
Post Your Comments:
(Date:9/2/2014)... Air pollution regulations over the last decade in Taiyuan, ... there, accounting for a greater than 50% reduction in ... 2001 and 2010, according to researchers at the Columbia ... School of Public Health, the Shanxi Medical University, the ... and Shanghai Fudan University School of Public Health. , ...
(Date:9/2/2014)... others are done in by it. New research at ... so-called stress gap in mice with very similar genetic ... better understand the development of psychiatric disorders such as ... unique experiences as it goes through its life. And ... expression of genes, and as a result, affect an ...
(Date:9/1/2014)... held that corals whose calcium-carbonate skeletons form ... organisms that rely entirely on ocean currents to ... But now scientists at MIT and the Weizmann ... that they are far from passive, engineering their ... greatly enhance their ability to exchange nutrients and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Clean air halves health costs in Chinese city 2Discovery hints at why stress is more devastating for some 2Discovery hints at why stress is more devastating for some 3Nature's tiny engineers 2Nature's tiny engineers 3
... how to control when plants flower - to help farmers ... will also investigate whether the flowering process can be made ... climate. , Professor of Plant Development at the University, ... process as pollination leads to the development of the fruit, ...
... U.S. Department of Energy,s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ... as individual investigators of activity within a cell. ... step in scrutinizing the behaviors of proteins and other ... Labeling a given cellular component and tracking it ...
... children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) usually involves the ... can have negative side effects for kids and teens ... Aviv University,s Sackler School of Medicine and Schneider Children,s ... treating IBD in children: a nutritional formula that was ...
Cached Biology News:Protecting the food crops of the future 2Nanocrystals reveal activity within cells 2Powerful nutrient cocktail can put kids with Crohn's into remission 2
(Date:9/2/2014)... Sept. 2, 2014  TransCelerate BioPharma Inc. ("TransCelerate") ... approach for protecting personal data in Clinical Study ... and others. The document describes an approach to ... CSRs and other related clinical trial documents, and ... goal of the TransCelerate CSR Redaction approach is ...
(Date:9/2/2014)... September 02, 2014 Opertech Bio, ... highly efficient, cost effective approach to sensory evaluation, ... 8,820,265 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, ... , “Opertech’s taste evaluation technology called ... automated high throughput system for rapid characterization of ...
(Date:9/2/2014)... /PRNewswire/ - Oncothyreon Inc. (Nasdaq: ONTY ) announced today ... Officer, will present at the Rodman & Renshaw 16 th ... on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 at 2:05 p.m. ... the presentation will be accessible by visiting the Oncothyreon website ... About Oncothyreon Oncothyreon is a ...
(Date:9/2/2014)... NC (PRWEB) September 02, 2014 ... of its 11th clinical research site: PMG Research of ... ownership and operation of the clinical research department at ... expanding PMG’s presence in eastern North Carolina. This new ... For the patients in Rocky Mount and the surrounding ...
Breaking Biology Technology:TransCelerate BioPharma Inc. Releases Recommended Approach for Protecting Personal Data in Clinical Study Reports 2TransCelerate BioPharma Inc. Releases Recommended Approach for Protecting Personal Data in Clinical Study Reports 3Opertech Bio Receives U.S. Patent for High-Throughput Taste Evaluation Technology 2PMG Research Announces the Formation of its Eleventh Site 2PMG Research Announces the Formation of its Eleventh Site 3
... , ... announces the launch of Nivitol™, a revolutionary breakthrough botanical anti-aging skin care ingredient. ... of the world,s premiere manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance and ... ...
... that simple peptides can organize into bi-layer membranes. ... Earth,s chemical inventory and the organizational scaffolding essential to ... the kind of membranes needed to create long-range order," ... the paper recently published by the German Chemical Society,s ...
... /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Oncothyreon Inc. (NASDAQ: ONTY ) (the "Company") today ... per basic and diluted share for the quarter ended March ... or $0.13 per basic and diluted share for the ... result of a decrease in fair value of warrant liability of ...
Cached Biology Technology:Unigen Announces the Launch of Nivitol™ - Powerful New Anti-Aging Skin Care Ingredient 2Unigen Announces the Launch of Nivitol™ - Powerful New Anti-Aging Skin Care Ingredient 3Peptides may hold 'missing link' to life 2Peptides may hold 'missing link' to life 3Oncothyreon reports first quarter 2010 financial results 2Oncothyreon reports first quarter 2010 financial results 3Oncothyreon reports first quarter 2010 financial results 4Oncothyreon reports first quarter 2010 financial results 5