In­dian re­searchers pro­duce bio fuel from car­bon waste

Chemical Industry Digest - - Renewables -

In­dian

sci­en­tists from Jawa­har­lal Nehru Uni­ver­sity ( JNU), Delhi, have found a way to con­vert car­bon­rich waste ma­te­ri­als into bio-fuel us­ing mi­crobes grow­ing in two di­verse cli­matic con­di­tions.

A team of re­searchers dis­cov­ered two dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent species of bac­te­ria from Aravalli mar­ble mines near Al­war and from the high-al­ti­tude Pan­gong Lake in Ladakh. They also found that they can com­bine forces to pro­duce bio-diesel from car­bon-con­tain­ing waste ma­te­ri­als. The bac­terium iden­ti­fied and iso­lated from the mar­ble rocks in Ra­jasthan, called Ser­ra­tia sp. ISTD04, is ca­pa­ble of se­ques­ter­ing at­mo­spheric car­bon diox­ide into or­ganic com­pounds such as lipids. Mean­while, li­pase, which the team iso­lated from cold-lov­ing bac­terium Pseu­domonas sp.

ISTPL3, can con­vert these lipids into bio-fuel.

“This li­pase is noth­ing but an en­zyme that works as a cat­a­lyst to pro­duce bio-diesel,” said Indu Shekhar Thakur, who led the re­search. The find­ings re­cently ap­peared in two pub­li­ca­tions, Jour­nal of En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal Sus­tain­abil­ity and Biore­source Tech­nol­ogy.

Ac­cord­ing to Thakur, the mi­crobe iso­lated from the mar­ble mines not only se­questers car­bon diox­ide im­pli­cated in cli­mate change, but also con­verts it into valu­able or­ganic com­pounds. This cat­alytic process — called trans­es­ter­i­fi­ca­tion — can be done us­ing ei­ther chem­i­cal cat­a­lysts or en­zymes such as the one the sci­en­tists iso­lated from the mi­crobe found in the brack­ish water of Pan­gong Lake, which is shared be­tween In­dia and China.

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