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How stuff work - Research Paper Example

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OIL-EATING BACTERIA Name: Institutions name: An oil eating bacteria does exactly what its name suggests that is it eats oil. It is not a naturally occurring bacterium at all and cannot be found in nature. It is in fact a product of genetic engineering. In fact this invention or product is not only well known for its utility but is the first genetically modified living organism that was granted a patent by the U.S which subsequently enabled other genetically modified products to become eligible for patent grants…
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How stuff work
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Download file to see previous pages This invention came into the limelight immediately because it was the key in solving one of the biggest environmental challenges-Oil spills and was concept of bioremediation since no harmful chemicals or other products were employed. Oil spills always have a catastrophic effect on the marine ecosystem as well as those who depend on the marine ecosystem .such as birds, fishing industry and tourism industry. The toxic oil stuck to the bird’s feathers prohibiting them from flying and has serious effects on the marine life as well. Until the invention of these microbes the cost of cleaning up the oil was extremely high. Using techniques such as dispersants or mechanical skimming cost almost $7,350 per metric ton of oil. Often oil was spilled in the middle of the ocean where logistics posed a great problem and in most cases only a mere 20% of the oil spilled could be cleaned up. However the invention of these oil-eating microbes have been a boon to mankind since these microbes make the cleaning up process practical, rapid and environment friendly. Production of Oil eating Bacteria Oil especially crude oil is composed of hydrocarbons. Many bacteria and fungi have the natural capability of breaking down oil into carbon dioxide and water however none of the naturally occurring bacteria could degrade all the components. While working with microbes he recognized the fact that microbial metabolism could be used for the process of bioremediation. Recombinant DNA technology also known as RDT is the technology used by biotechnologists and genetic engineers to transfer DNA or genetic material from one cell to another with the help of vectors or carrying bodies such as plasmids. Certain bacterial strains already bore the gene which encodes for specialized enzymes. These specialized enzymes have the capability of degrading oil, nullifying their toxicity and turning them into harmless products. Using recombinant DNA technology, Professor isolated the genes from these microbes and integrated them into the vector plasmid DNA machinery. These plasmids were then integrated into strains of Pseudomonas bacteria. These genetically engineered bacteria were now made capable of producing enzymes on their own which could degrade oil and render them harmless. Working principle The entire working principle of the oil degrading microbes is based on the study of enzymes. The enzymes help the bacteria in obtaining their carbon from the oils. Once these microbes are put into the water containing oil, their only source of carbon is the oil on the water surface. The bacteria which can produce oil-degrading enzymes start production and utilizes the degraded oil as its energy resource. Hydrocarbon degrading enzymes such as alkane hydroxylase, catechol dioxygense are some of the enzymes that are encoded by the genes of some naturally occurring oil0degrading bacteria and which have been genetically transferred into Pseudomonas strain enabling the latter to break down a wide variety of oil components (Peixoto et al,2011, p.2). The bacteria proliferates at the site of oil spill since large quantities of carbon resource is available. Problems ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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