Environmental and Biological Sciences

EESA Researcher’s Enzyme Discovery at JBEI Enables First-Time Microbial Production of an Aromatic Biofuel

  Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have discovered a new enzyme that will enable microbial production of a renewable alternative to petroleum-based toluene, a widely used octane booster in gasoline that has a global market of 29 million tons per year. Results…

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Berkeley Lab Ecologist Hosts Guatemalan Students Researching Insect Genes, Gut Microbes

Berkeley Lab ecologist Javier A. Ceja-Navarro welcomed three undergraduate students from the University of Guatemala to the national laboratory during the week of September 11, 2017. The young women are studying three insects of economic significance: Anopheles albimanus, Ceratitis capitata, and Anastrepha ludens. The Latin American students learned about the lab's work to assess the role of the gut microbiome in mosquitoes through its Microbes to Biomes project. They learned to extract DNA and then use it to amplify genes for the identification of microbial populations.

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Coffee berry borer’s gut microbes detoxify caffeine

Caffeine Fiend - coffee berry borer

ESD’s Javier Ceja-Navarro (lead author) and Eoin Brodie, with researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Mexico’s El College de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), discovered that coffee berry borers rely on bacteria in their guts to detoxify the massive amounts of caffeine they consume when they eat caffeine-rich coffee beans, their sole source of…

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