web analytics
September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘gas’

Weizmann Scientists Engineer Bacteria Making Sugar from Greenhouse Gas

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

All life on the planet relies, in one way or another, on a process called carbon fixation: the ability of plants, algae and certain bacteria to “pump” carbon dioxide (CO2) from the environment, add solar or other energy and turn it into the sugars that are the required starting point needed for life processes, reads a press release of the Weizman Institute headlined, “Eating Air, Making Fuel — Weizmann Institute scientists engineer bacteria to create sugar from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.”

At the top of the food chain are different organisms, such as humans, that use the opposite means of survival: they eat sugars (made by photosynthetic plants and microorganisms) and then release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This means of growth is called “heterotrophism.”

Is it possible to “reprogram” an organism that is found higher in the food chain, which consumes sugar and releases carbon dioxide, so that it will consume carbon dioxide from the environment and produce the sugars it needs to build its body mass? That is just what a group of Weizmann Institute of Science researchers recently did.

Dr. Niv Antonovsky, who led this research in Prof. Ron Milo’s lab at the Institute’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, says that the ability to improve carbon fixation is crucial for our ability to cope with future challenges, such as the need to supply food to a growing population on shrinking land resources while using less fossil fuel.

The Institute scientists rose to this challenge by inserting the metabolic pathway for carbon fixation and sugar production (the so called Calvin cycle) into the bacterium E. coli, a known “consumer” organism that eats sugar and releases carbon dioxide.

The metabolic pathway for carbon fixation is well known, and Milo and his group expected that, with proper planning, they would be able to attach the genes containing the information for building it into the bacterium’s genome. Yet the main enzyme used in plants to fix carbon, RuBisCO, utilizes as a substrate for the CO2 fixation reaction a metabolite which is toxic for the bacterial cells. Thus the design had to include precisely regulating the expression levels of the various genes across this multistep pathway.

In one way the team’s well-thought-out plan was a resounding success: The bacteria did indeed produce the carbon fixation enzymes, and these were functional. But the machinery, as a whole, did not “deliver the goods.” Even though the carbon fixation machinery was expressed, the bacteria failed to use CO2 for sugar synthesis, relying instead on an external supply of sugar. “Of course, we were dealing with an organism that has evolved over millions of years to eat sugar, not CO2,” says Antonovsky. “So we turned to evolution to help us create the system we intended.”

Antonovsky, Milo and the team, including Shmuel Gleizer, Arren Bar-Even, Yehudit Zohar, Elad Herz and others, next designed tanks called “chemostats,” in which they grew the bacteria, gradually nudging them into developing an appetite for CO2. Initially, along with ample bubbles of CO2, the bacteria in the tanks were offered a large amount of pyruvate, which is an energy source, as well as barely enough sugar to survive. Thus, by changing the conditions of their environment and stressing them, the scientists forced the bacteria to learn, by adaptation and development, to use the more abundant material in their environment. A month went by, and things remained fairly static. The bacteria seemed to not “get the hint.” But in a month and a half or so, some bacteria showed signs of doing more than “just surviving.” By the third month the scientists were able to wean the evolved bacteria from the sugar and raise them on CO2 and pyruvate alone. Isotope labeling of the carbon dioxide molecules revealed that the bacteria were indeed using CO2 to create a significant portion of their body mass, including all the sugars needed to make the cell.

When the scientists sequenced the genomes of the evolved bacteria, they found many changes scattered throughout the bacterial chromosomes. “They were completely different from what we had predicted,” says Milo. “It took us two years of hard work to understand which of these are essential and to unravel the ‘logic’ involved in their evolution.” Repeating the experiment (and again waiting months) gave the scientists essential clues for identifying the mutations necessary for changing the E. coli diet from one based on sugar to one using carbon dioxide.

Prof. Milo noted that “the ability to program or reengineer E. coli to fix carbon could give researchers a new toolbox for studying and improving this basic process.”

Although currently the bacteria release CO2 back into the atmosphere, the team envisions that in the future their insights might be applied to creating microorganisms that soak up atmospheric CO2 and convert it into stored energy or to achieving crops with carbon fixing pathways, resulting in higher yields and better adaption to feeding humanity.

JNi.Media

Steinitz: Israeli Offshore Gas ‘Worth 4 Leviathans’

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz told the 16th Herzliya Conference on Thursday that Israel discovered offshore natural gas worth four times the Leviathan field.

Steinitz said that “developing the gas fields, bringing natural gas to factories and transport and developing export pipelines, all these things are a huge engine of growth. What might save us from recession and bring us back to a reasonable level of growth is natural gas.”

Regarding the possibility of recession, Steinitz said, “It’s no secret that Israel has had a major downturn in growth, in investments and in exports and that’s very worrying.”

Steinitz told the conference that his office is debating laying a gas pipeline to Cyprus and to Greece, noting that “the project is technologically possible and the costs are not as high as we thought in the past.” He added that “if this can be realized it would position Israel well from the geopolitical and geostrategic point of view. Israel can become a significant player.”

David Israel

Another Natural Gas Discovery Off Egypt’s Coast

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Energy companies BP and ENI on Friday announced a significant gas discovery off the coast of Egypt, in the eastern delta of the Nile. According to ENI, “The new discovery affirms the estimates of potential gas reserves in the region as being at between 70-80 billion cubic meters.” Twelve gas reserves worth $33 billion are currently being developed in Egypt, including the Zohar field discovered last year, which is expected to supply 130 million cubic meters of natural gas per day.

David Israel

Gas Prices Dropping at Week’s End

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Drivers are about to get another bonus at the gas pumps in Israel.

For those who can wait until midnight Thursday to Friday, the price of gasoline will hit a new low.

That’s when the new price will be NIS 5.78 per liter for 95 octane gas on January 1, at most self-service stations.

Full-service gas pumps will cost about 20 agorot more – but it is still 20 agorot less than the current price.

The continued downward spiral in worldwide prices has brought gas prices to their lowest levels in six and a half years.

Hana Levi Julian

Losing in Arbitration, Egypt Must Pay Israel $1.76 Billion for Gas Stoppage

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

(JNi.media) The Israel Electric Corp on Sunday announced that Egyptian natural gas companies will pay compensation of $1.76 billion for stopping gas supplies in 2012, after Mohammed Morsi had been elected president. The termination, which followed months of terrorist attacks on the pipeline in the Sinai, reneged on a 20-year deal between Egypt and Israel. The state-owned IEC initially sued Egypt Mediterranean Gas for $4 billion in damages, but an international arbitrator awarded it only $1.76 billion plus interest and legal expenses.

IEC said it had sustained heavy damages as a result of Egypt’s blocking of gas supplies, forcing it to purchase more expensive fuel to generate electricity.

The Middle east Monitor noted that Egypt’s natural gas reserves had been depleted over the first decade of the 21st century, so that by 2008 “Egypt became a pure importer of energy.” In fact, after Egypt had exported natural gas to Israel since the mid-1990s, it will start importing Israeli gas in 2019 and 2020, for a period of 10 to 15 years. Apparently, well before the “Arab Spring,” still under the Hosni Mubarak regime, “Egyptian energy experts had warned their government of the consequences of continuing the strategy of exporting oil and natural gas for reasons associated with the imminent depletion of Egypt’s fuel resources.”

JNi.Media

Knesset Approves Natural Gas Outline

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

The Knesset plenum approved the natural gas outline presented to the lawmakers by the government on Monday.

There was considerable concern prior to the vote as to whether parliamentarians would balk at some of the elements of the deal, but as it turned out, it passed with a healthy majority.

“We have improved the outline. It passed the Cabinet and passed the Knesset by an overwhelming majority,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a statement following the Knesset session. “There is one more obstacle but when I want to achieve something, I achieve it.

“There will be gas for Israel. I want it for the citizens of Israel, to lower the cost of living, to channel vast sums to the state coffers for energy security. This will be achieved. We are moving forward step by step and overcoming one obstacle after another.

“They told us at the outset: We have not seen the outline so we opened the outline. They told us to improve it; we improved it. They told us to submit it to the Cabinet; we did so and it was approved. They told us to submit it to the Knesset and we approved it by majority vote. Now we have one obstacle left and we will overcome it because it is the right thing for the citizens of Israel.”

Jewish Press Staff

Netanyahu: Israel Faces Double Threat, From ISIS and Iran

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Thursday at a news conference in Be’er Sheva that Israel now faces two threats: that of Da’esh, or ISIS — and that of Iran.

Both issues were relevant to the condolences that Netanyahu expressed on behalf of Israel to the Egyptian people over the slaughter of dozens of police officers and Egyptian soldiers in Sinai on Wednesday by ISIS terrorists. An IDF official told media earlier in the evening there is also evidence indicating that Hamas terrorists — who are backed by Iran — were involved in helping the Sinai terrorists who attacked the Egyptian security personnel.

“Up until several months ago, when we said that ISIS was carrying out actions on our borders, people were skeptical,” Netanyahu said. “And here we see before our very eyes ISIS operating with unusual brutality on both our northern and southern borders.

“Our hearts are with the Egyptian people and we send our condolences to the Egyptian government and to the families whose loved ones have fallen in the struggle against vicious terrorism.

“The actions that we have seen from ISIS are nothing compared to the capabilities being built by the Iranian regime,” the prime minister continued, referencing the current nuclear deal being negotiated with Tehran six world powers.

The terrorist groups aligned against Israel in Gaza and Lebanon, he noted, are also all generously supported by Iran.

“It is clear that nobody in their right mind would give ISIS nuclear weapons. But in the major powers’ current talks with Iran they are giving it – this extremist state that is exporting terrorism around the world – the ability to develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons, of very many nuclear bombs along with the means to deliver them – long-range missiles,” Netanyahu pointed out.

“Therefore, we now face two threats – from ISIS and from Iran. We need not strengthen one at the expense of the other. We need to weaken both and prevent the aggression and arming of both.

“I tell you that in the face of these forces of darkness, which repress human rights, murder people and hang them up in public squares, against these forces we are moving forward here in Be’er Sheva with the cyber park,” Netanyahu went on, describing a new project that has been launched in the southern city.

“We see very great progress here in Be’er Sheva; this is a global revolution. While this revolution gives us considerable economic strength, as well as security and military strength, it requires us to leave behind the usual patterns, move on to other things and set forth a vision.

“The vision of Ben-Gurion was correct. Another vision must be added to it, that of commercial development. When commercial interests are joined to these companies, and they can profit, they come here and create growth that we could not even dream about.

“Here we are receiving all global forces, among them the strongest forces in the global economy, in Be’er Sheva, the Negev and the State of Israel because we created a commercial interest for them. This is a revolution. This will serve all citizens of the State of Israel, all of them without exception.

“The same thing can also be done now with the gas reserves. The gas reserves are a great gift that we have received. A vast quantity of gas is under the seabed. A small part of it has been extracted; a very great part is still in reserves under the sea. We must extract it from there. It is commercial firms that are extracting it.

“We have seen to it that 60% of their profits will enter into state coffers. We are using this, and will use it, for health, social welfare, education and security. We are talking about hundreds of billions of shekels — not hundreds of millions of shekels – but hundreds of billions of shekels in the coming years.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-israel-faces-double-threat-from-isis-and-iran/2015/07/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: