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Researchers produce jet fuel compounds from fungus

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posted on May, 6 2015 @ 11:59 AM
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I just read this today,





Washington State University researchers have found a way to make jet fuel from a common black fungus found in decaying leaves, soil and rotting fruit. The researchers hope the process leads to economically viable production of aviation biofuels in the next five years.
The researchers used Aspergillus carbonarius ITEM 5010 to create hydrocarbons, the chief component of petroleum, similar to those in aviation fuels.
Led by Birgitte Ahring, director and Battelle distinguished professor of the Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory at WSU Tri-cities, the researchers published their work in the April edition of Fungal Biology.
The fungus produced the most hydrocarbons on a diet of oatmeal but also created them by eating wheat straw or the non-edible leftovers from corn production. Fungi have been of interest for about a decade within biofuels production as the key producer of enzymes necessary for converting biomass to sugars. Some researchers further showed that fungi could create hydrocarbons, but the research was limited to a specific fungus living within a specific tree in the rainforest, and the actual hydrocarbon concentrations were not reported.
Ahring's group has previously been successful in using standard Aspergillus fungi to produce enzymes and other useful products, which have been patented and are under commercialization, so they decided to look into A. carbonarius ITEM 5010's potential for biofuels.
Fungi are complex microorganisms and are not always easy to work with, Ahring said. They have a complex biology that is often poorly understood.
"Not many people in this world actually do this,'' she said. "The molecular biology piece of it is complicated.''


and

She suspects the fungi produce hydrocarbons, large compounds that are costly for the organism to produce, as a protective mechanism. Her group showed that fungi react to bacterial attacks by increasing their hydrocarbon production.
The researchers are now working to optimize the fungi's hydrocarbon production and improve biochemical pathways through genetic engineering. They have obtained mutants with a higher production level and are working on improving these strains by using gene coding for specific hydrocarbons out of blue green bacteria and algae.
It's the same challenge faced by mold researchers, more than a generation ago, who found they could only produce a tiny amount of their product, Ahring said. Eventually, they optimized production of their product, which became known as antibiotics.
"It's very promising,'' she said. "I think that the fungus-based fuels are something that is going to happen. It's a tremendous opportunity. ''

Jet Fuel from fungus


Thats fascinating stuff, if you can make jet fuels, then higher order hydrocarbons can be refined from those stocks. The process could be used to deal with all sorts of organic wastes.
Combine those techniques with ones using algae or the method using seawater or cracking natural gas to create hydrocarbons and you have a robust alternative to oil.

edit on 6-5-2015 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 6 2015 @ 12:54 PM
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Here is what Boeing is doing in the field of bio-fuels:



Tobacco into jet fuel:




posted on May, 6 2015 @ 12:56 PM
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Great, so by using Tobacco as jet fuel, we all get to be passive smokers.


edit on 6-5-2015 by flibbleflobble because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 01:04 PM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

Seems to me the obvious is being missed here.

These fungi and more than probably many other species of fungi, are responsible for the creation of oil...which also means that oil is a sustainable fuel, because it is a continuous process. The fungi live off the dead organic matter, and produce the 'black sludge' it uses to protect itself...the black sludge can then be processed and refined into hydrocarbon based fuel.

It's basically oil.

Am i the only one who sees this connection?



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 01:05 PM
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originally posted by: flibbleflobble
Great, so by using Tobacco as jet fuel, we all get to be passive smokers.



I wouldn't hold your breath, breathing in the combustion products of 'ordinary jet fuel' is probably going to be worse for your lungs than passive smoking would be.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 01:24 PM
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I think it would be better to just get rid of half the jets. We don't need to be flying all over the place. The grass will not be greener on the other side if we take all the clippings out of everyone's yard and make fuel out of them. Clippings are fertilizer and can help build the mat on the yard.

I know, I am supposed to get excited and say they will be helping the planet with these big treatment facilities. I know, they can clean up the remainder of the biomass and call it safe if it is spread all over the country in compost topsoils so it isn't considered a toxic byproduct that needs to be treated as a biohazard.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 01:27 PM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

The military has been playing with a way to make jet fuel from anything carbon based for several years, as well as an algae based system for the Navy. All military aircraft have been certified for biofuel use.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 01:31 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

Here's the solution.

Take all the grass clipping they want, and distil water from seawater using solar (passive, vapor based distillation) the resulting minerals and salts left over after evaporation goes on the lawn to feed the grass...the pure water can be used to water the grass.

Result...everybody is happy.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 01:52 PM
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a reply to: MysterX

Wouldn't it be more interesting to make vodka from that grass?



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 02:53 PM
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hrmm... the fungus among us.

I'm surprised they don't process human waste to feed that fungus.
it would help to dispose of waste and create fuel.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 03:03 PM
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a reply to: MysterX

Yes, the theory is called "abiotic oil". There was a Russian scientist that went on about this.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 05:06 PM
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originally posted by: grey580
hrmm... the fungus among us.

I'm surprised they don't process human waste to feed that fungus.
it would help to dispose of waste and create fuel.


You beat me to it grey580, use the process to break down organic wastes.



posted on May, 7 2015 @ 04:32 AM
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Gives new meaning to the term "Magic Mushrooms"...




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