Dissecting the Ecology of Microalgae and Bacteria across Time and Space

Microalgae play an important role in the Earth’s climate, converting carbon dioxide into solid carbon. This research sought new ways to study these microalgae and their associated bacterial communities across time and space. The researchers created a new co-culture method called a “porous microplate” that passes nutrients and molecules associated with metabolism between culture cells while blocking physical contact between algae in adjacent wells.

DOE Announces $178 Million to Advance Bioenergy Technology

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $178 million for bioenergy research to advance sustainable technology breakthroughs that can improve public, health, help address climate change, improve food and agricultural production, and create more resilient supply chains. This funding will support cutting-edge biotechnology R&D of bioenergy crops, industrial microorganisms, and microbiomes. Alternative clean energy sources like bioenergy are playing a key role in reaching President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

Unearthing the secrets of plant health, carbon storage with rhizosphere-on-a-chip

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created a miniaturized environment to study the ecosystem around poplar tree roots for insights into plant health and soil carbon sequestration.

New Collaboration Between RCSB Protein Data Bank and Amazon Web Services Provides Expanded Data Storage and Access to Researchers Worldwide

The Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics Protein Data Bank (RCSB PDB), headquartered at the Rutgers Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine, announces the expansion of its data storage capacity through the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Open Data Sponsorship Program. The AWS program is providing the RCSB PDB with more than 100 terabytes of storage for no-cost delivery of Protein Data Bank information to millions of scientists, educators, and students around the world working in fundamental biology, biomedicine, bioenergy, and bioengineering/biotechnology.

The cycle of light: Analyzing how cellular proteins in leaves change through day, night

Because next-generation biofuels will depend on the growth and hardiness of woody feedstocks, scientists have sought to better understand how leaf cells quickly respond to environmental cues such as light, temperature and water. Scientists at the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, or CBI, have studied rapid molecular changes in leaves from poplar trees during normal daily cycles of daylight and darkness. Until now, the effect of these modifications at the cellular protein level was not well understood, partly because of the technical limitations of the analytical tools available.

Scientists ID Sterol Essential for Oil Accumulation in Plants

Scientists seeking to unravel the details of how plants produce and accumulate oil have identified a new essential component of the assembly line–a particular sterol that plays a key role in the formation of oil droplets. The findings may suggest new ways to engineer the oil content of a variety of plant tissues for potential applications in bioenergy, chemical engineering, and nutrition.

Calling all couch potatoes: this finger wrap can let you power electronics while you sleep

A new wearable device turns the touch of a finger into a source of power for small electronics and sensors. Engineers at the University of California San Diego developed a thin, flexible strip that can be worn on a fingertip and generate small amounts of electricity when a person’s finger sweats or presses on it. What’s special about this sweat-fueled device is that it generates power even while the wearer is asleep or sitting still.

Danforth Center Scientists Collaborate On $13 Million Bioenergy Project

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a five-year, $13 million grant to a nationwide research project to genetically strengthen Thlaspi arvense, commonly known as pennycress, for use in sustainable energy efforts.

How to Tackle Climate Change, Food Security and Land Degradation

How can some of world’s biggest problems – climate change, food security and land degradation – be tackled simultaneously? Some lesser-known options, such as integrated water management and increasing the organic content of soil, have fewer trade-offs than many well-known options, such as planting trees, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Global Change Biology.

Decoding plant chatter could lead to stronger crops

Researchers will use a $2.25 federal grant to study how cells communicate within plants, and between plants and pathogens, to develop crops that are resilient to disease and other stresses. The work also could play a role in reengineering plants and microbes to improve biofuel production.

Danforth Center to Lead DOE-Funded Research to Harness Untapped Reservoir of Plant Genes in Quest for Bioenergy Crops

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected Danforth Center Principal Investigator James Umen, Ph.D., to lead a multi-institutional collaboration that will predict functions for hundreds of uncharacterized plant genes that could be important to stress tolerance in a range of potential bioenergy crops.