Thursday March 21, 2019
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Forget global warming, Artificial Photosynthesis breakthrough is here to save us

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

With increasing levels of harmful gases being released into the environment, the future, indeed, looks bleak.

Well, what about if we could ‘revamp’ those harmful gases into some highly useful things, like biofuels  or plastics?

The good thing is that a group of researchers have essentially taken cues from Mother Nature itself, and thus accomplished the impossible!

By the way, how have the scientists managed to achieve such a remarkable feat?

Here’s how:

The researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have developed the revolutionary system which essentially mimics photosynthesis.

The system collects Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gases before they are let loose into the atmosphere and converts them into acetate, a basic building block for organic compounds.

Then, the acetate can be used to manufacture a diverse array of chemicals, drugs and alternative fuels.

All this is done through creation of an ‘artificial forest’ of Silicon and Titanium Dioxide nanowires, which are seeded with bacterial populations.

Scientists believe that system has the potential to revolutionize the chemical and oil industry. The system can produce chemicals and fuels in a totally renewable way, rather than extracting them from deep below the ground.

So, is it time to say goodbye to greenhouse gases?

As of now, the system boasts of an efficiency of 0.38 per cent, close to the natural process of photosynthesis. However, researchers believe that soon they would manage to increase it to 3 per cent. And, the system would be embraced on a large scale once it begins to gain traction.

“Once we can reach a conversion efficiency of 10 per cent in a cost-effective manner, the technology should be commercially viable,” said Christopher Chang, a chemist and biosynthesis expert.

The environment can hopefully breathe easy now.

Next Story

Study Warns Patients That Now Drugs Contain Inactive Ingredient

Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients

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FILE - Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients. VOA

A new study is warning patients that if they feel worse after taking a new medication, it might not be because of the drug but rather an inactive ingredient in it.

The report published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine says medications often contain “inactive” ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or gastrointestinal reactions in people sensitive to specific compounds.

Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients.

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Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients. Pixabay

“There’s a tremendous underappreciation of the potential impact that inactive ingredients may have,” said Dr. Giovanni Traverso, a gastroenterologist who spurred the research after his celiac patient’s trouble with medication that contained gluten as an inactive compound.

The study analyzed data on inactive ingredients from a database of more than 42,000 prescription and over-the-counter medicines. It found that an average pill contains eight inactive ingredients, but some contain 20 or even more.

ALSO READ: Longer Exposure to PM2.5 Raises Risk of Diabetes: Study

While most of the worrisome ingredients are in small amounts in most medications, the researchers pointed out that 39 percent of seniors take at least five prescription medicines daily, so even the tiniest amount can add up.

Drug manufacturers already put warnings on medications that contain refined peanut oil. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering a proposal that recommends adding gluten information to drug labels. (VOA)