Waste into wealth: Harvesting useful products from microbial growth
Through a microbial growth process known as chain elongation, the metabolic processes of certain bacteria can convert chemicals into useful products such as aviation fuels, lubricants, solvents, food additives and plastics. Anca Delgado (at left in photo), a Fulton Schools assistant professor of environmental and sustainable engineering, is exploring new possibilities for productive uses of this process. Research being conducted at ASU’s Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology is demonstrating that advanced chemical conversion techniques might be able to minimize environmental waste and contaminants while producing biochemicals, biofuels and similarly valuable resources. These processes potentially could also enable producing energy from various forms of organic waste. Research findings by Delgado and ASU colleagues are detailed in the current issue of the International Society of Microbial Ecology journal. News about the research is also reported in Science Daily, Biotech World and Posibl.