Biological Switch Paves Way for Improved Biofuel Production

Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Eco-Friendly, Science, Technology with 0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

(Phys.org) Writing in the journal PNAS, Dr Lu-ning Lu and Professor Conrad Mullineaux from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences report that by exposing cells to different light conditions, they have changed the way in which electrons are transported.

Professor Mullineaux explains: “Any organism that breathes or photosynthesises depends on tiny electrical circuits operating within biological membranes. We are trying to find out what controls these circuits: what makes the electrons take the routes that they do, and what switches are available to send the electrons to other destinations?”

Cyanobacteria are a kind of bacterium that both breathes and photosynthesises and therefore has a complicated set of different possible electron transport pathways.


cyanobacteria

The team put specific fluorescent tags on some of the protein components involved in electron transport, and then viewed the live cells with a fluorescence microscope to see where those complexes are in the cell.

By studying the cells in this way, the team visualised a biological electrical switch in action. When they changed the conditions (for example by making the light brighter or dimmer), the cell responded by changing the position of the complexes, which leads to major changes in the pathways of electron transport.

Full understanding of these mechanisms could help with re-engineering of cyanobacteria for improved solar-powered biofuel production, for example.

Source:
http://phys.org/news/2012-06-biological-paves-biofuel-production.html

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Provided by Queen Mary, University of London

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS FeedConnect on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the stories on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to friend