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New Outragious microbe research

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  • Pawnfart
    For full text and graphics visit:
    Message 1 of 702 , Jan 19, 2002
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      For full text and graphics
      visit:<br><a href=http://ens-news.com/ens/jan2002/2002L-01-18-09.html target=new>http://ens-news.com/ens/jan2002/2002L-01-18-09.html</a><br><br>MUD MICROBES CAN GENERATE ELECTRICITY<br><br>AMHERST,
      Massachusetts, January 18, 2002 (ENS) - Certain microorganisms
      can transform organic matter found at the bottom of
      the ocean into electrical energy, researchers at the
      University of Massachusetts have learned. <br><br>The
      microbiologists who discovered the process say that the microbes
      could someday be used to produce power for unmanned
      submarines or underwater sensing devices. The findings also
      have implications for many industrial and military
      applications, says Derek Lovley, leader of the UMass team.
      <br><br>An understanding of how microbes generate and use
      electrical energy may also prompt the development of new
      technologies to decontaminate polluted water and sediment
      containing organic materials, including petroleum and other
      aromatic hydrocarbons, Lovley said. <br><br>In an article
      in this week's issue of the journal "Science,"
      Lovley explains how the team used water and sediment
      from Boston Harbor, a collection of mason jars,
      ordinary electrical wiring, and graphite electrodes to
      determine the science behind the mechanics of a simple,
      sediment battery. <br><br>The researchers added a layer of
      mud to water in the jars, put one graphite electrode
      in the mud, another in the overlying water. The
      resulting electrical current was strong enough to activate
      a lightbulb, or a simple computer. <br><br>"Even
      using a primitive electrode made from graphite," Lovley
      said, "it is possible to produce enough current to
      power basic electronic marine instruments."
      <br><br>Through more refined experiments, Lovley's group found
      that a family of energy harvesting microorganisms,
      called Geobacters, were key to the production of the
      electrical current. Most life forms get their energy by
      oxidizing organic compounds with oxygen, but Geobacters can
      grow in environments lacking oxygen by using the iron
      present in soil. <br><br>The new research demonstrates
      that Geobacters can also substitute an unnatural
      substance, such as an electrode, for the iron, Lovley
      explained. <br><br>"In the mud, a community of
      microorganisms cooperates to break down larger, more complex
      organic compounds to acetate," Lovley said. "Geobacters
      then transfer the electrons from the acetate to the
      electrode generating the electrical energy."
      <br><br>Lovley's group also has found that some Geobacters can
      convert toxic organic compounds, such as toluene, to
      electricity. Lovley says this suggests that some Geobacters
      could be used to harvest energy from waste matter, or
      to clean up organic contaminants such as petroleum.
      <br><br>"Once we know more about the genome of Geobacters, we
      will be able to manipulate these organisms to make
      them receptive to a variety of organic or inorganic
      contaminants," added Lovley. "Theoretically, when they begin to
      degrade the contaminant, they will throw electrons on an
      electrode, and that could set off a light, a sound or some
      other form of signal." <br><br>Such technology could
      lead to military equipment that could alert soldiers
      to the presence of toxins or biological warfare
      agents in the immediate environment, he added.
      <br><br>"An understanding of how this phenomenon operates has
      a number of extremely timely applications,
      especially in developing technologies to recognize toxins
      and organic contaminants," Lovley concluded.
    • b1blancer_29501
      On Feb 28th, the Interplanetary Magnetic Field swung to a strong south-pointing orientation. That, coupled with an elevated solar wind speed and density,
      Message 702 of 702 , Mar 1, 2002
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        On Feb 28th, the Interplanetary Magnetic Field
        swung to a strong south-pointing orientation. That,
        coupled with an elevated solar wind speed and density,
        triggered a G-1 class geomagnetic storm. The result was
        some high latitude aurora. See this link for a
        photgraph of aurora observed over Quebec :
        <a href=http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/images/01mar02/Moussette2.jpg target=new>http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/images/01mar02/Moussette2.jpg</a> . As of right now, there are 3 sunspot regions,
        namely 9839, 9842, and 9845, that appear to be capable
        of producing M-class flares. Regions 9839 and 9842
        are close to rotating out of view over the western
        limb of the solar disk. Sunspot region 9845, however,
        is close to the sun's central meridian. A rather
        large coronal hole is also approaching the sun's
        central meridian, and coming into an Earth-pointing
        position. High speed colar wind gusts are likely around the
        first of next week.<br><br>The current solar and
        geomagnetic conditions are :<br><br>NOAA sunspot number :
        153<br>SFI : 188<br>A index : 10<br>K index : 1<br><br>Solar
        wind speed : 372.3 km/sec<br>Solar wind density : 4.4
        protons/cc<br>Solar wind pressure : 1.1 nPa<br><br>IMF : 8.4
        nT<br>IMF Orientation : 0.7 nT North<br><br>Conditions for
        the last 24 hours : <br>Solar activity was low. The
        geomagnetic field was quiet to unsettled. Stratwarm Alert
        exists Friday.<br><br>Forecast for the next 24 hours
        :<br>Solar activity will be low to moderate. The geomagnetic
        field will be quiet to unsettled.<br><br>Solar Activity
        Forecast :<br>Solar activity is expected to be low to
        moderate for the next three days. Region 9845 is a
        possible source for isolated M-class
        flares.<br><br>Geomagnetic activity forecast :<br>Geomagnetic field activity
        is expected to be mainly quiet to unsettled, until
        the onset of high speed stream effects from a
        recurrent coronal hole begin to develop by day three of the
        forecast period. Isolated active conditions are
        anticipated thereafter.<br><br>Recent significant solar flare
        activity :<br>None
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