Monday, October 29, 2007

Jackson Hole bioprospecting

Helge: Biotech means that we get nature to help us create energy intensive processes.

Jackson Hole bioprospecting: "Scientists discover new bacteria in park Species could advance biofuel technology. By Cory Hatch October 24, 2007

Scientists plumbing in the depths of Yellowstone's Octopus Spring discovers a new species of photosynthetic bacteria.

Researchers looking at bacterial mats in Yellowstone’s thermal pools discovered a new species that uses chlorophyll to convert the sun’s energy into chemical energy.

Scientists found the bacteria, called Candidatus Chloracidobacterium termophilum, in Octopus and Mushroom springs and the Green Finger Pool, not far from Old Faithful.

The bacterium grows best in temperatures between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit and could help researchers drastically increase production of biofuels, according to Don Bryant, a professor of biotechnology, biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State University.

Bryant, who lead the research team, published his discovery in the July issue of Science. The discovery comes as the Park Service mulls rules that would give the federal government a cut of proceeds from scientific discoveries in places such as Yellowstone.

Researchers who practice this type of science, called bioprospecting, often make use of microscopic organisms within national parks."
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