Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Role of Microbes in Biotech Boom, part 1.

The role of microbes in the energy production has been relatively small in older times. Burning of microbial biomass has not been a clever alternative because the tiny size of microbial cells (even billions of cells, 1 000 000 000, can be easily be suspended in one milliliter of water - all too slow to cultivate big lots of biomass) and their water content (drying would be too much energy-consuming procedure). Wood, in opposite, has been an excellent alternative, especially when the material has been dried enough to give positive net balance of energy.

The energy-containing metabolites of microbes, not the microbial cells themselves, have been the subject of research and development of energy production. Because the full-oxidized end-products of aerobic, oxygen-respiring micro-organisms, the fermentative microbes (like ethanol-producing yeasts) and anaerobic bacteria (like methane producers) have got a certain role in energy production. One big benefit of these applications are the non-expensive raw materials of metabolic routes like carbohydrates, manures and other stuff which has either been left from other processes or even regarded as a waste.

(- to be continued soon...)

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