<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Prokaryotes, and food and beverages

According to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, biotechnology is “any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.” http://www.cbd.int/convention/articles/?a=cbd-02http://www.cbd.int/convention/articles/?a=cbd-02, United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, “Article 2: Use of Terms.” The concept of “specific use” involves some sort of commercial application. Genetic engineering, artificial selection, antibiotic production, and cell culture are current topics of study in biotechnology. However, humans have used prokaryotes to create products before the term biotechnology was even coined. And some of the goods and services are as simple as cheese, yogurt, sour cream, vinegar, cured sausage, sauerkraut, and fermented seafood that contains both bacteria and archaea ( [link] ).

The photo collage shows cheese (a), salami (b) in a sandwich, yogurt (c) in a strainer, and a bottle of fish sauce (d).
Some of the products derived from the use of prokaryotes in early biotechnology include (a) cheese, (b) salami, (c) yogurt, and (d) fish sauce. (credit b: modification of work by Alisdair McDiarmid; credit c: modification of work by Kris Miller; credit d: modification of work by Jane Whitney)

Cheese production began around 4,000 years ago when humans started to breed animals and process their milk. Evidence suggests that cultured milk products, like yogurt, have existed for at least 4,000 years.

Using prokaryotes to clean up our planet: bioremediation

Microbial bioremediation    is the use of prokaryotes (or microbial metabolism) to remove pollutants. Bioremediation has been used to remove agricultural chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) that leach from soil into groundwater. Certain toxic metals, such as selenium and arsenic compounds, can also be removed from water by bioremediation. The reduction of SeO 4 2 to SeO 3 2 and to Se 0 (metallic selenium) is a method used to remove selenium ions from water. Mercury is an example of a toxic metal that can be removed from an environment by bioremediation. Mercury is an active ingredient of some pesticides; it is used in industry and is also a byproduct of certain industries, such as battery production. Mercury is usually present in very low concentrations in natural environments but it is highly toxic because it accumulates in living tissues. Several species of bacteria can carry out the biotransformation of toxic mercury into nontoxic forms. These bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa , can convert Hg 2+ to Hg 0 , which is nontoxic to humans.

Probably one of the most useful and interesting examples of the use of prokaryotes for bioremediation purposes is the cleanup of oil spills. The importance of prokaryotes to petroleum bioremediation has been demonstrated in several oil spills in recent years, such as the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska (1989) ( [link] ), the Prestige oil spill in Spain (2002), the spill into the Mediterranean from a Lebanon power plant (2006,) and more recently, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (2010). To clean up these spills, bioremediation is promoted by adding inorganic nutrients that help bacteria already present in the environment to grow. Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria feed on the hydrocarbons in the oil droplet, breaking them into inorganic compounds. Some species, such as Alcanivorax borkumensis , produce surfactants that solubilize the oil, while other bacteria degrade the oil into carbon dioxide. In the case of oil spills in the ocean, ongoing, natural bioremediation tends to occur, inasmuch as there are oil-consuming bacteria in the ocean prior to the spill. Under ideal conditions, it has been reported that up to 80 percent of the nonvolatile components in oil can be degraded within 1 year of the spill. Other oil fractions containing aromatic and highly branched hydrocarbon chains are more difficult to remove and remain in the environment for longer periods of time. Researchers have genetically engineered other bacteria to consume petroleum products; indeed, the first patent application for a bioremediation application in the U.S. was for a genetically modified oil-eating bacterium.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, University of georgia concepts of biology. OpenStax CNX. May 28, 2013 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11526/1.2
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'University of georgia concepts of biology' conversation and receive update notifications?