Biofuels: Fungus Use Improves Corn-to-ethanol Process
ScienceDaily (2008-05-30) -- Scientists are developing a process that cleans up and improves the dry-grind ethanol production process. The process uses fungus to reduce energy costs, allow more water recycling and improve a co-product that's used as livestock feed. The process could change ethanol production in dry-grind plants so much that energy costs can be reduced by as much as one-third, according to researchers. ... > read full article
Friday, May 30, 2008
Biofuels: Fungus Use Improves Corn-to-ethanol Process
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The discovery of Trichoderma reesei, the target of the published analysis, dates back to World War II, when it was identified as the culprit responsible for the deterioration of fatigues and tents in the South Pacific. This progenitor strain has since yielded variants for broad industrial applications and is known today as an abundant source of enzymes, particularly cellulases and hemicellulases, currently being explored to catalyze the deconstruction of plant cell walls as a first step towards the production of biofuels from lignocellulose.
“The information generated from the genome of T. reesei provides us with a roadmap for accelerating research to optimize fungal strains for reducing the current prohibitively high cost of converting lignocellulose to fermentable sugars,” says Eddy Rubin, DOE JGI Director and one of the paper’s senior authors. “Improved industrial enzyme ‘cocktails’ from T. reseei and other fungi will enable more economical conversion of biomass from such feedstocks as the perennial grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass, wood from fast-growing trees like poplar, agricultural crop residues, and municipal waste, into next-generation biofuels. Through these incremental advances, we hope to eventually supplant the gasoline-dependent transportation sector of our economy with a more carbon-neutral strategy.”
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
1. A sealable sandwich bag
2. A piece of bread (I used some leftover porkchops, see photo on the right, covered with Pencillium sp.).
3. A paper towel
4. A little soil from outdoors or a potted plant
What you do (Part 1):
1. Place your bread in the bag. Dampen the paper towel and put it in the bag
with the bread and add a pinch of soil. The soil carries a few mold spores.
2. Let some air in the bag and zip it or tie it up so it's securely sealed. Label the
bag with the date and a name for your experiment, say, “Mold Test 1”.
3. Put the bags in a warm, dark place for about three days.
4. Look at the bread with a magnifying glass through the bag. If nothing has
happened after three days, wait three more.
5. Soon you’ll have a mold garden.
THROW AWAY BAGS WITHOUT OPENING THEM WHEN FINISHED.
Breathing too much mold can make you sick. In dirt, mold is very spread out.
Mold is not a kind of plant. Mold is not a kind of animal. Mold is a kind of fungus.
Fungi (FUN-jie) thrive by attaching themselves to a source of food. Famous
fungi include mushrooms, yeasts, mildews, and “athlete’s foot” fungus.
Mold is made up of millions of spores, or tiny microscopic seeds, all growing
together in a colony. Mold comes in a variety of furry, bright-colored blobseverything
from red to bright purple, depending on the type. The fuzzy-looking
spores weigh so little, tiny air currents can carry them through the air. When they
land someplace where the conditions are just right, they grow into new fungi.
Copyright 2001, Bill Nye and Nye Labs, LLC.All rights reserved.
Coprinus spp., 4 species
Orginal Research Citation:
Olaf Schmidt, 2007. Indoor wood-decay basidiomycetes: damage, causal fungi, physiology, identification and characterization, prevention and control. Mycol Progress 6:261–279
First recognized in the early 1980s, EHEC outbreaks have been linked to a variety of food sources including undercooked ground beef, alfalfa, spinach, unpasteurized fruit juice, salami, wild game meat, and raw milk. The bacteria’s toxins can cause hemorrhagic colitis, which is characterized by abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting. Young children and the elderly are often hit hardest by the bug. In some cases, infected individuals develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can result in kidney failure, seizures, strokes, and other serious complications.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates indoor air quality is two- to five-times more polluted than the air we breathe outside.
"Living in a home that is polluted with mold can cause all sorts of respiratory problems," Neil Schachter, M.D., tells Ivanhoe. That's a great concern to homeowner Scott Lerman, who has a 4-year-old child.
"We want to make sure that our house is as healthy as it can be so that my son can be as healthy as he can be," says Lerman, who agreed to let Dr. Schachter, a lung specialist from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, inspect his home.
During the inspection, Dr. Schachter found water damage was causing mold to grow in Lerman's shower. He advises the Lermans and anyone with a similar problem to clean moldy showers with chlorinated wipes and avoid spraying any chemicals that might irritate the lungs.
Because dust can also cause respiratory problems like allergies and asthma, Dr. Schachter recommends putting clean area rugs over dusty carpets and getting rid of dust ruffles. He also says not to store items beneath the bed and to be aware that clutter stored in the basement can collect dust. Pollutants can also come from outside, so to keep them out, Dr. Schachter suggests installing a window filter.
"You assume your house is healthy until you get someone to point these things out," says Lerman, who is now committed to eliminating more than just dust in an effort to keep his family healthy.
A musty, mildewy smell is the undeniable odor of mold. And it may be lurking in more places than you know -- having harmful effects on your health. Now, we tell you how to track down mold.
Holly Russo's tub comes clean now, but there was once a moldy nightmare lurking underneath it. "Our first reaction, when we saw the mold, was absolute horror. I could not believe what was under there. I've never seen anything like it," says Russo.
Mold that's made its way indoors can cause health problems, but many people still don't understand the hazards. Now, industrial hygienists are growing mold to learn more about how it grows, what it grows on, and how mold makes us sick.
"I want to know what makes up that moldy, musty smell. I want to know are there compounds there that can cause people to have health problems," says Terri Pearce, Ph.D., an industrial hygienist for The Centers for Disease Control's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
In a lab, with the perfect blend of moisture and warmth, mold spores, or tiny cells, grow on different types of building materials. With the right amount of moisture, mold can grow faster, turning an ordinary ceiling tile into moldy messes.
Researchers learn which materials withstand mold better -- and which moldy smells come from mold that may cause more serious health problems. "Some of the chemicals that make up that odor actually are known to be irritants and so they can cause people to have respiratory health affects," explains Dr. Pearce.
Learning more about mold helps researchers develop better ways to find it, treat health problems, like asthma and allergies, and teach how vital it is to clean up moldy messes.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The study, done by Felicia Wu, Tom Biksey, and Meryl H. Karol compares policies for regulation of mold with those previously developed to regulate two other contaminants in the indoor environment, radon and lead. While federal, state, and local agencies have policies and regulations concerning radon and lead, few state or local policies have been developed for mold and no federal agency has Congressional authority to regulate or develop indoor mold policy, the study points out.
Based on lessons from radon and lead, the researchers recommend policy approaches for controlling indoor mold that rely on building and housing codes, maintenance and rehabilitation regulations, home marketing incentives, and public education on moisture and mold control.
“While it is not yet feasible to develop standards and regulations for acceptable mold levels in the home, guidelines and policies can be developed at the federal, state, and local levels to control moisture and mold in homes,” the report states।American Chemical Society (2007, July 5). Moving Ahead With Guidelines To Control Indoor Mold Contamination. ScienceDaily.
Monday, March 3, 2008
It is just possible to see a dust mite under a magnifying glass, when the subject is well lit and placed on a black background.
Bleach and strong soaps do not kill dust mites.
A simple washing will remove most, in the waste water.
Temperatures of over 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) for a period of one hour are usually fatal to dust mites; freezing may also be fatal.
Dust mites reproduce quickly enough that their effect on human health can be significant।