Navigation Links
Microbes may be engineered to help trap excess CO2 underground
Date:2/23/2012

San Diego, Calif. In H.G. Wells' classic science-fiction novel, The War of the Worlds, bacteria save the Earth from destruction when the Martian invaders succumb to infections to which humans have become immune through centuries of evolution. If a team led by researchers at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory's Center for Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2 (NCGC) has its way, bacteria with a little assist from science will help prevent global destruction for real by trapping underground a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2 ), that threatens Earth's climate.

The team will discuss its work at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society (BPS) in San Diego, Calif., held Feb. 25-29.

Among the methods being considered for removing excess CO2 (from sources such as power stations) from the atmosphere is transporting the gas into porous rock deep underground. There, it can mineralize with cations (positively charged atoms) to form solid carbonate minerals and become permanently trapped. This mineralization process, however, is extremely slow, sometimes taking hundreds to thousands of years.

Bacteria, the researchers predicted, might help speed things up.

"Previous studies have shown that underground bacteria remain in the rock after CO2 injection. We know these microbes can impact how minerals form, leading us to wonder if they also affect the rate of mineralization," says NCGC biochemist Jenny Cappuccio. "And if bacteria could enhance the nucleation of carbonate minerals, then perhaps we could fine-tune that ability in the laboratory."

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 have a thin protein shell known as an S-layer.

"We suspected that the negative charge of the S-layer attracted positive calcium ions and brought them in proximity with carbonate," Cappuccio says.

To test this theory, the researchers engineered artificial S-layers and increased their negative charge by attaching a loop of six amino acids what Cappuccio calls a "loop of negativity." When carbonate was introduced, nucleation was significantly increased.

The next step, Cappuccio says, will be to culture deep subsurface microbes in the lab, make nanoscale changes to increase the negative charge of their surfaces, and see if that "tuning" makes them better able to speed up carbonate nucleation.

The presentation, "Tuning microbial surfaces to control carbonate mineralization," is at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in the San Diego Convention Center, Hall FGH. ABSTRACT: http://tinyurl.com/7vgl8va


'/>"/>

Contact: Ellen R. Weiss
eweiss@biophysics.org
240-290-5606
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste
2. New research reveals soil microbes accelerate global warming
3. Discovery opens the door to electricity from microbes
4. Exposing ZnO nanorods to visible light removes microbes
5. MO BIO Laboratories, Inc. DNA Isolation Products Used to Analyze Microbes Present in Deepwater Horizon Oil Plume
6. Microbes reprogrammed to ooze oil for renewable biofuel
7. Hidden diversity in key environmental cleanup microbes found by systems biology assessment
8. SRNLs microbes useful for for environmental cleanup and oil recovery
9. Microbes, Inc. Extends Warrant Tender Offer
10. Engineered bacteria mop up mercury spills
11. In the battle to relieve back aches, Cornell researchers create bioengineered spinal disc implants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading ... was today awarded as one of the World ... world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering ... real world in the nutrition, health and consumer ... with customers including Fortune 500 companies to design ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal ... Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SANTA MONICA, Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer ... to pioneer increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of ... 77 institutions across 15 countries. Read More About the ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... to their offering. The report ... to grow at a CAGR of 12.28% during the period 2016-2020. ... in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers ... The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... -- The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics was once ... one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the Fastest 50 ... Las Vegas . Winners ... each of the following categories: net square feet of paid ... The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 out of ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016   Acuant , the ... solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce ... add functional enhancements to existing physical access ... venues with an automated ID verification and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):