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Finally, a way to exploit termites!

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posted on Nov, 22 2007 @ 06:27 AM
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I don't like termites. To me their nothing but highly social cockroaches, and recent research in their genetic heritage has confirmed that. But now there may be a reason to start liking them:

Fuel's gold: Termites point way to new dawn of bio-energy

A team of US scientists poring over the intestines of a tropical termite have a gut feeling that a breakthrough in the quest for cleaner, renewable petrol is in store.

Tucked in the termite's nether regions, they say, is a treasure trove of enzymes that could make next-generation biofuels, replacing fossil fuels that are dirty, pricey or laden with geopolitical risk.

[...]

Present-generation biofuels are derived from corn, sugar and other crops, whose starch is converted into ethanol by enzymes, fermentation and distillation.

One of the problems, though, is that this product entails converting food into fuel. Hefty US subsidies to promote bio-ethanol is having price repercussions across swathes of the global food market.

Next-generation biofuels, though, would use non-food cellulose materials, such as wood chips and straw. But these novel processes, hampered by costs and complications, are struggling to reach a commercial scale.

The termite's tummy, though, could make all the difference.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This is great news indeed! Too often I hear critics of biofuel knocking it's potential with that same old tired argument that crops should be for food and not fuel. Fine, that's a valid argument. But often enough those same critics turn their backs on other biofuel possibilities like algae or bacteria.

Now all that may change thanks to this pest. I for one fully support this research path. It's time to turn a menace to our advantage!




posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 01:24 AM
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Brave New Zoo

This is the future.

Our grandchildren won't find termites, cockroaches, ants, spiders or even centipedes especially repulsive. They will recognize them for what they are - Nature's janitorial staff - and make use of them accordingly.

And living creatures, especially former pests, will be put to many other uses, too, such as this one.

Imagine, for example, conducting a mass vaccination campaign using mosquitoes...

The Age of Machines may never end completely, but the machines themselves will be largely replaced by living things reengineered to perform the same functions in more environmentally friendly and sustainable ways. And life will be so much better for it.



posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 01:28 AM
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I already can see some left wing group saying termites have feelings and we can't kill them.



posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 02:31 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Imagine, for example, conducting a mass vaccination campaign using mosquitoes...


Hey, now that's a great idea!


Although it would be quite paradoxical to run such a campaign aimed at vaccinating against diseases spread by the mosquitoes themselves. Or is it?

reply to post by kdial1
 


Naturally




posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 02:38 AM
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I would prefer to vomit for a week straight than get bitten by a bloody mozzie.
I don't take drugs to cheer up. I kill mosquitoes.



posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 02:49 AM
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Originally posted by watch_the_rocks
I would prefer to vomit for a week straight than get bitten by a bloody mozzie.
I don't take drugs to cheer up. I kill mosquitoes.

You mean you'd rather a great huge steel spike jammed into your arm?

Well, chacun à son gout, I always say.



posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 04:05 PM
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Originally posted by watch_the_rocks
I don't take drugs to cheer up.

Hey, now that's a great idea. You go to this party where you get bitten by mozzies that pump psychoactive (and nontoxic and nonhabitforming, obviously) drugs into your bloodstream. Cool.



posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 06:51 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

Originally posted by watch_the_rocks
I don't take drugs to cheer up.

Hey, now that's a great idea. You go to this party where you get bitten by mozzies that pump psychoactive (and nontoxic and nonhabitforming, obviously) drugs into your bloodstream. Cool.


I don't understand what you are saying here. I was joking in the first place anyway. Please calm down.



posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 06:59 PM
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interesting find OP.

i have no doubt the future of bio engineering will provide us with a wealth of discoveries and practical applications....



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 12:33 AM
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Originally posted by watch_the_rocks

Originally posted by Astyanax
mozzies that pump psychoactive... drugs into your bloodstream. Cool.

I don't understand what you are saying here.

Just riffing on the idea of mosquitoes as hypodermics with wings.

What I'm saying is that we should genetically engineer insect 'pests' to make them of some use to us, instead of just exterminating them.


I was joking in the first place anyway.

So was I, in a thought-experimentish sort of way.



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