Gribble are tiny marine invertebrates that are able to eat wood but until now it was unknown how they were able to break down the lignin which composes wood. A team of scientists from the University of York studied the gut of the gribble and discovered hemocyanins. These are a group of proteins that transport oxygen in invertebrates in a similar way to haemoglobin in animals, but instead of binding oxygen to iron atoms and producing blood with a red color, it binds oxygen to copper atoms producing a blue color. These proteins are important in the ability to extract sugars from wood and this discovery helps researchers make cheaper and more sustainable ways of converting wood into fuel.
Researchers treated wood with hemocyanins and found that it allowed more than double the amount of sugar to be released which is the same as expensive and energy consuming thermochemical pre-treatments currently used. Gribbles are the only species with a sterile digestive system and use the oxidative capabilities of hemocyanins to attack ligand bonds that hold wood together, making them easier to study. This discovery allows more ecofriendly methods to be produced in order to convert wood into biofuels which could help eliminate many harmful fuel sources we use today such as coal and oil.
i think this article is cool because it shows that we do not need to rely on fossil fuels, these little Gribbles might help us not kill the environment more.ReplyDelete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
It's interesting to see humans using animals in a ways that promote sustainability. I'm skeptical,however, because sometimes when a new species is introduced it can cause detrimental harm to the native species. Hopefully scientists have done research to avoid this.ReplyDelete
This could lead be potentially groundbreaking in the biology field since we always stress that there isn't an infinite amount of sources. The gut of gribbles possess hemocyanins bind oxygen to copper atoms, which are capable of breaking ligin bonds. These bonds are present in wood and can release sugars. This energy can be used in place of burning coal.ReplyDelete