Thursday, November 15, 2018

Purple bacteria may help harvest green fuel from wastewater


Purple phototrophic bacteria capture energy from sunlight using a variety of pigments, which turn them shades of orange, red or brown -- as well as purple




A purple bacteria — which store energy from light — can help harvest hydrogen fuel from sewage, and recover carbon from any type of organic waste, scientists have found. Organic compounds in household sewage and industrial wastewater are a rich potential source of energy, bioplastics and even proteins for animal feed — but with no efficient extraction method, treatment plants discard them as contaminants. A study, published in the journal Frontiers in Energy research, is the initial to show that supplying electric current to purple phototrophic bacteria can recover nearly 100 per cent of carbon from any type of organic waste, while generating hydrogen gas for electricity production.

“One of the most important problems of current waste material treatment plants is high carbon emissions,” said Daniel Puyol of King Juan Carlos University in Spain. “Our light-based biorefinery process could provide a means to harvest green energy from waste material, with zero carbon footprint,” said Puyol.

Purple phototrophic bacteria capture energy from sunlight using a variety of pigments, which flip them shades of orange, red or brown — as well as purple.

“Purple phototrophic bacteria make an ideal tool for resource recovery from organic waste, thanks to their highly diverse metabolism,” said Puyol.

The bacteria can use organic molecules and nitrogen gas — instead of carbon dioxide and water — to provide carbon, electrons and nitrogen for photosynthesis. this implies that they grow quicker than various true bacteria and protoctist, and can generate hydrogen gas, proteins or a type of biodegradable polyester as byproducts of metabolism. which metabolic product predominates depends on the bacteria’s environmental conditions — like light intensity, temperature, and the types of organics and nutrients available.


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