E. Coli Bacteria Engineered to Eat Switchgrass and Make Transportation Fuels Name of student: Course: Tutor: Q1.Who are the scientists who conducted the study? For along period of time scientist and researcher were not able to understand how bacteria could breakdown substances such as phosphonic acids, persistence and other pollutants of the environment…
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Q2.Why did the scientists conduct the study? This study was driven by the fact that these compounds are dangerous in nature and therefore, extremely risky to both man and other animals. Due this reason, the need arose to come up with a mechanism which can help in the breakdown of this compound will be very useful. Successful identification of proteins that can break down these molecules mean a positive progress towards finding a solution to this problem which have persisted for several years now (Chen, 2011). From this point, it will be very easy for researchers to develop special bacteria in the laboratory which can destroy this compound and render them harmless. Being that phosphonic acid is very stable would mean that these compounds cannot be broken down with ease. It is surprising that bacteria can break down these bonds with ease in other linked or related molecules. It is worth noting that simple sugars in corn grain, the cellulose and hemicelluloses in plant biomass are difficult to take out because the tough, woody material known as lignin around them. After extraction, it is, therefore necessary that the complex sugars get hydrolyzed into simpler sugar molecules and finally synthesized into fuels (Chen, 2011). Q3.How the study was done? The study involved pre-treating switchgrass biomass in ionic liquid with engineered E.coli. The significance of this pretreatment is to make the biomass readily digestible by the bacteria. The study started by, identification of complex proteins which are capable of digesting or breaking up of the key bonds. An estimate found out that exceeding numbers of phosphonic acids get released into the environment each year especially in the western countries. Being that it cannot be broken down with ease would mean that most of it will end up as pollutant to the underground water. This has resulted into concern of this contamination to the human health and aquatic ecosystem which will impact on the water dependent lives (Chen, 2011). Q4.What did the study find? Following this revelation, researcher at the U.S department of Energy (DOE) have come up with the first strains of bacteria E.coli that can breakdown switchgrass and synthesize its sugar component into all the important transportation fuels i.e. gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. This study is considered a milestone as the thriving fuel crisis can be combated through its realization. In addition, this kind of fuel is regarded clean, green and renewable. The process of making this kind of fuel is very easy as there is no enzyme additives needed in order for the bacteria to synthesize these compound to produce the fuel. The study found out that most demanding part of bio-fuel production is the addition of enzymes. This challenge is eliminated through this type of bio-fuel production. The essence of this addition is to depolymerize cellulose and hemicelluloses sugars which are fermented into sugar with a final yield of fuels. It is evident that the three advance bio-fuels can be synthesized from ionic liquid treated switchgrass using laboratory engineered E.coli
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