Everything Bio!

1. What is bio-mining?

Biomining is a technique of extracting metals from ores and other solid materials typically using prokaryotes or fungi. These organisms secrete different organic compounds that chelate metals from the environment and bring it back to the cell where they are typically used to coordinate electrons. 

2. What is Bio Toilet?

Bio-Digester is a decomposition mechanized toilet system which decomposes Human Excretory Waste in the digester tank using specific high graded bacteria further converting it into methane and water, discharged further to the desired surface.

3. What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is an alternative fuel similar to conventional or ‘fossil’ diesel. Biodiesel can be produced from straight vegetable oil, animal oil/fats, tallow and waste cooking oil. The process used to convert these oils to Biodiesel is called transesterification.

​​4. What are Microbial Fuel Cells?

A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a bio-electrochemical device that harnesses the power of respiring microbes to convert organic substrates directly into electrical energy. At its core, the MFC is a fuel cell, which transforms chemical energy into electricity using oxidation reduction reactions. The key difference of course is in the name, microbial fuel cells rely on living biocatalysts to facilitate the movement of electrons throughout their systems instead of the traditional chemically catalyzed oxidation of a fuel at the anode and reduction at the cathode.

The magic behind MFC’s can be distilled down to two words: cellular respiration. Nature has been taking organic substrates and converting them into energy for billions of years. Cellular respiration is a collection of metabolic reactions that cells use to convert nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which fuels cellular activity. The overall reaction can be considered an exothermic redox reaction, and it was with this in mind that an early Twentieth century botany professor at the University of Durham, M. C. Potter, first came up with the idea of using microbes to produce electricity in 1911.

While Potter succeeded in generating electricity from E. coli, his work went unnoticed for another two decades before Barnet Cohen created the first microbial half fuel cells in 1931. By connecting his half cells in series, he was able to generate a meager current of 2 milliamps. By 1999, researchers in South Korea discovered an MFC milestone. B.H. Kim et al developed the mediatorless MFC which greatly enhanced the MFC’s commercial viability, by eliminating costly mediator chemicals required for electron transport. Microbial fuel cells have come a long way since the early twentieth century.

​​5. What is Biological Grid? (added on 19 October 2020)

The Biological General Repository for Interaction Datasets (BioGRID: https://thebiogrid.org) is an open-access database dedicated to the curation and archival storage of protein, genetic and chemical interactions for all major model organism species and humans. As of September 2018 (build 3.4.164), BioGRID contains records for 1 598 688 biological interactions manually annotated from 55 809 publications for 71 species, as classified by an updated set of controlled vocabularies for experimental detection methods. BioGRID also houses records for >700 000 post-translational modification sites. BioGRID now captures chemical interaction data, including chemical–protein interactions for human drug targets drawn from the DrugBank database and manually curated bioactive compounds reported in the literature. A new dedicated aspect of BioGRID annotates genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9-based screens that report gene-phenotype and gene-gene relationships. An extension of the BioGRID resource called the Open Repository for CRISPR Screens (ORCS) database (https://orcs.thebiogrid.org) currently contains over 500 genome-wide screens carried out in human or mouse cell lines. All data in BioGRID is made freely available without restriction, is directly downloadable in standard formats and can be readily incorporated into existing applications via our web service platforms. BioGRID data are also freely distributed through partner model organism databases and meta-databases.

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