Algae developed new technology for crop health

Trained dogs are known to use their sense of smell to detect explosives, contraband, and even certain diseases. Being able to automate such identification can be useful in a variety of settings, from airports to public buildings.

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a technology to monitor the health of algae crops, one of the fastest growing products to prevent global pollution from fossil fuels and waste.

As announced on October 1 at the National Academy of Sciences, a team of different researchers — from undergraduate to advanced faculty — collaborated on a departmental energy project that could save hundreds of millions of dollars. In the losses of algae biomas. Algae, one of the new biological fuels for importing vehicles into renewable plastics, is considered to be the key to future sustainable products, based on biodegradable polymers that remove waste and excess waste from the oceans.

“In order to have enough algae to supply all these renewable materials – biofuels, bioplastics and nutrients – we need to find ways to increase algae production and production,” said a senior author of the PAAS paper. Chemistry and biochemistry. Pomeroy led the development of technology with paper coordinator Ryan Simkovsky. “Keeping algae healthy is one way to do this. We cannot afford to lose a hectare of these crops. ”

The most economically competitive way to develop algae is to grow small bodies of water in large “sidewalk” ponds. Such open biomass production, however, exposes them to pollution by microscopic pond invaders. Algae-borne pathogens include viruses, bacteria, and fungi that can kill algae crops within hours.

The UCC San Diego team developed a new method for evaluating volatile gases, which are often released by microbial processes. Using a device developed by the University of San Diego Professor Kimberly Pratr Laboratory, the researchers developed an automated method for measuring volatile gases in real time using a method previously used in medicine, prevention and treatment called chemical ionization mass spectrometry or CIMS. Drug performance.

The technology monitors the normal health of algae by monitoring their dynamic gas emissions during their growth and flowering cycle. This can lead to the conversion of invasive gas signatures when invasive creatures or attackers attack and create stress. Using CMS, scientists immediately identified the damage and called on bed farmers to take action to save the crop.

Pomeroi, who works with chemist Mike Bercart and biologist Steve Mayfield, said: Food and fuel program for the 21st century. . “Bacteria are designed to attack and eat algae and their growth is noticeable. One day good green algae can be good, and the next day brown mud is dirty. So this is not like losing about 10 percent of your wheat crop – you could lose an entire algae crop overnight.

The researchers found that grazing pollutants were found in infectious organisms 37 to 76 hours before the CMS system, including microscopes and fluorescents. Further research will be conducted to further develop CIMS for algae field applications.

Professor Porter is the founding director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Aerospace Environmental Chemistry (CAICE), NSF for Chemical Innovation Center.

“One of our goals at CAICE is to develop unique online analytical approaches to identify complex compounds in biological and environmental systems,” Pratter said. “This gas application is a good example of how the mass scale developed for a specific application to measure ocean emissions is currently working to solve the problem of community relevance. There are endless applications in the field and in the field of health, how these online mass metrics can be used to solve challenging problems.

According to the researchers, CMS, cheese, beer, monoclonal antibodies and some valuable laboratory-grown meats can be used to monitor health, all of which are vulnerable to attacks from infectious organisms.

Reference Sauer JS, Simkovsky R, Moore AN, et al. Continuous measurements such as volatile gases to determine bed health. PNS. 2021; 118 (40). doi: 10.1073 / pnas.2106882118

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