TECHNOLOGY// Biofuels from synthetic biology

in hive-175254 •  2 months ago  (edited)

Author: @madridbg, through Power Point 2010, using public domain images.

Dear members of the blockchain who are passionate about scientific and technological content In this delivery, we will address a combination of areas that is projected as the panacea before difficult situations of our daily lives, I refer to biology seen from the technological aspects, which gives rise to a discipline that we will call synthetic biology. This discipline differs from biology in that it does not focus on the study of living beings, but rather seeks to synthesize new compounds and materials not found in nature.

Therefore, the final objective of biological synthesis is based on the understanding of the cellular processes generated at a natural level and to work in function of this, originating mechanisms that are capable of replicating such behavior according to the needs that we have as a society. Therefore, at present and thanks to the advances in technological matters, it is possible to carry out a controlled reprogramming at a cellular level.

Image 2. Genetic modifications are taking place in animals and plant species. Image of public domain. Author: Gerd Altmann en Pixabay.

So, the cells are adapted to our needs and according to the reprogramming they work as machines or microscopic factories that allow the generation of biofuels, drugs and chemicals needed at industrial level.

In the opinion of Robert Kitney, Professor specialized in biomedical systems at the University of London:

"The influence of this field could go beyond the scope of synthetic chemistry, which was responsible for the creation of plastics, rubbers, drugs, among others, since we use a complex system, but one that is close to perfection, as represented by the cells, as hand-input units".

Among the achievements that have been made through this discipline, we can mention the genetic reprogramming in yeasts, so that they behave like a micro-scale laboratory and produce artemisinin, a drug used in the treatment of malaria or animal disease. Similarly, some species of algae have been genetically reprogrammed in order to generate biofuels that do not harm the planet's biotic systems.

Image 3. Genetic variations in plant species. Image of public domain. Author: Emilian Danaila en Pixabay.

In order to instruct the reader on the importance of this type of research, we will take a look at biofuels obtained through algae modifications, which differ from fossil fuels since they do not release carbon dioxide into the air. This is due to the fact that plants manifest neutral carbon emissions, that is, the carbon released into the air had already been transformed during the photosynthetic process so that carbon dioxide levels did not increase.

Among the plants used for this purpose, we can mention cyanobacteria, algae and water grass, which can grow in abundance without many nutritional requirements or improvements at ground level and which provide a great mass of raw material to work in the elaboration of fuels.

Image 4. Water grass, raw material in biofuel synthesis. Image of public domain. Author: tomekwalecki en Pixabay.

If you have reached this point in your reading, you have realized that there are many benefits that can be seen at the level of synthetic biology. However, the risks that we can run by using them are also worrying. So I invite you to interact in the comments section about what are the problems that we can present according to your perspective if we continue to advance through this discipline.

If you have reached this point in your reading, you have realized that there are many benefits that can be seen at the level of synthetic biology. However, the risks that we can run by using them are also worrying. So I invite you to interact in the comments section about what are the problems that we can present according to your perspective if we continue to advance through this discipline.


BIBLIOGRAPHY CONSULTED


[1] Charles W. Schmidt. ). La biología sintética. Las implicaciones de un nuevo campo para la salud ambiental. Environmental Health Perspectives, volumen 118, número 3, marzo 2010, páginas A118-A123. Article: Online Access

[2] Biología sintética: 10 puntos clave para delegados. Información del Grupo ETC para la COP 11. Article: Online Access


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Greetings dear @madridbg. Interesting article, it is an area that can favor or threaten the health of the planet, as well as the chemistry that created plastic polymers that did not exist in nature and brought us great benefits but also great consequences. With this new field we must ask ourselves if, for example, the intentional or accidental release of a genetically modified organism into the environment could have an impact on human and environmental health. So we must demand research guidelines that promote ethical and responsible use.

Greetings my dear @emiliomoron thank you for leaving your comment, no doubt that is where one of the main problems of synthetic biology lies the improper use we can make through it, since currently in Europe we can find sequences of genetic codes at a very low price and where there is no monitoring of what use will be given to them, which can trigger problems for humanity if biological weapons are created from them. Thank you for commenting.

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The only flaw I see in this technology to generate synthetic biofuels is that in the same way the synthetic material will be obtained from natural resources that as overpopulation demands more resources will present more problems.Greetings and thank you for sharing this information.

Greetings @sandracarrascal undoubtedly the energy issue and in this particular, biofuels will always be a topic of interest and concern to man, since through these moves human activity. I agree with your concern, every time we demand more and it is there, where one of the great challenges for synthetic biology is manifested. Thank you for commenting