Molds Release New Path to Biofuels
A very significant discovery was made by the scientists at the University of Manchester that creates the foundation for the development of new biofuels application and the sustainable production of chemicals. We may deem moulds to be harmful to our health especially the black one which is known to be toxic. With that, many of us adhere to black mold removal methods or preventive techniques. But little do we know that some kinds of moulds also have beneficial effects.
Based at the MIB of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, researchers have determined the precise structure and mechanism of 2 main enzymes separated from yeast moulds that together produce a fresh and better route to the making of hydrocarbons.
As published in Nature, the research gives the likelihood of changing the demand for oil in recent industrial processes with a more sustainable and greener natural method.
A Well-Defined Study is Made
Professor David Leys, the lead investigator explains the significance of his work – “one of the important challenges face by our society is the declining level of oil reserves that we don’t only rely upon for fuel transport, yet lubricants, plastics and a wide array of petrochemicals as well. Solutions that aim to decrease our dependency on oil from fossil are immediately required.”
“Whilst the direction supply of fuel compounds by living organisms is an enticing method, it is one that isn’t well understood nowadays, and though the prospective for large-scale biological hydrocarbon manufacture exists, in its latest form it wouldn’t provide support to the industrial application, let alone give a suitable option to fossil fuels.” He added.
Professor Leys together with his team have made detailed investigation about the mechanism wherein common yeast mould can create kerosene-like scents when grown on food that contains sorbic acid preservative. They’ve found that these organisms utilize a formerly unknown modified type of Flavin of Vitamin B2 to support the creation of volatile hydrocarbons that resulted to kerosene odours. Their findings also showed the similar process is utilized to sustain the synthesis of Vitamin Q10 (ubiquinone).
Utilizing the Diamond synchrotron source in Harwell, they have able to give atomic levels views into this bio catalytic method, and shows it shares similarities with procedures that were used commonly in chemical synthesis however thought not to happen in nature in the past.
“Now that we were able to understand how other microbes and yeast can lead to the production for very modest sums of fuel-like compounds via this tailored vitamin B2- dependent method, we are on the much improved position to try to develop the yield and nature of the produced compound.” As what Professor David Leys says.
In this specialized study, publish from the book Natures, researchers put their attention on the alpha-olefins production, a great value, industrially vital intermediate class of hydrocarbons that are main chemical intermediate in various applications, for instance rigid and flexible pipes and packaging, synthetic lubricants especially utilized in heavy duty motor and gear oils, detergents, surfactants and additives of lubricants.
“This basic research constructs on the expertise of MIB in enzyme systems and gives the basis for the growth of new applications in biofuel and commodity chemical production. Insights from this study provide the possibility of avoiding the recent industrial processes which are dependent on scarce natural resources.”