Research News – 5

Three research articles published recently relevant to Industrial Microbiology.
 
  1. Simultaneous consumption of Cellobiose, Xylose and Acetate. Uniqueness in the cellobiose paper published in ACS synthetic biology: co-consumption of cellobiose, xylose and acetate; evolutionary engineering for increased cellobiose consumption; sequencing revealed increased copy numbers of a particular gene than mutations; co-fermentation had higher ethanol yields and lower by-product formation.
  2. Producing a natural product using a consortium of microorganisms: Stephanopoulos’ group from MIT have used a co-culture of E.coli and S.cerevisiae to produce an antitumor agent. Their supplementary information is quite exhaustive; for ex:they use sucrose gradient centrifugation to separate E.coli and Cerevisiae for quantification. Bacteria are friends with yeasts ! Editors choice – summary: Microbes are wizards at making structurally intricate and bioactive molecules, but their products are usually only made in small quantities for local consumption. Zhou et al. demonstrate how thoughtful design and a bit of tinkering can lead to much greater yields of oxygenated taxanes, a precursor of the antitumor drug paclitaxel. First they split the job between a bacterium and a yeast. Second, they switched the fuel for these microbial factories from glucose (which the yeast turned into ethanol, which sedated the bacteria) to xylose (which the bacteria consumed and turned into acetate, which fed the yeast).
  3. Nielsen’s group from Chalmers report the production of alkanes from S.cerevisiae, for the first time. 
Titbits
  • Nature and Springer publishers merge to become a publishing giant (to compete with Elsevier, according to PLoS). Together, the duo will generate an estimated $1.75 billion in annual sales and employ some 13,000 people.
  • Drought in Brazil: This article was published in the today’s issue of the UK newspaper ‘The Guardian’:

Sugar and ethanol output has also been hit. Last week, Raizen, the country’s biggest producer, announced it will lay off 250 workers and cease production at its Bom Retiro mill for two years because of cane shortages caused by the drought.

The drawing on the board in the kitchen evolved over a span of three weeks with contribution from every one. It is still there and every day something new appears.
9 Jan 2015 16 00 hours (9 Jan)
22 Jan 2015 1225 hours
(22 Jan)
23 Jan 2015 1118 hours
(23 Jan)
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