Researchers Develop FBEB – a Unique Microbial Energy Production Method

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PHOTO DATE: 01-05-11 LOCATION: Bldg. 37 Photo Description: Lab Technician David Arneson streaks bacterial cultures in the Microbiology Lab in Building 37 WORK ORDER: 00065-BS__MICROBIOGORIDE_01-05-11 PHOTOGRAPHER: BILL STAFFORD

For the survival of all living things, reproduction is essential, for which they extract energy from surroundings. For generations, it was believed that there were only two methods for all living organisms to generate energy required for cellular metabolism but now researchers have formulated a third method called Flavin-based Electron Bifurcation (FBEB). This finding is more of a discovery rather than an invention as FBEB is actually an ancient form of energy generation that attracted nominal exploration in the past, owing to its distinct nature.

Venturing into Unknown Features of Catalytic Mechanism led to Discovery

The researchers at the Biological Electron Transfer and Catalysis (BETCy) Energy Frontier Research Center, Montana, U.S., have gained critical and comprehensive insights on how FBEB functions. Among the most important detections is the ability of flavin molecule to generate two volumes of energy from a single precursor compound. While the first volume performs a common chemical reaction, the second one is substantially more energetic in terms of performing more challenging chemistry and forms a high-energy compound. Coupling these two reactions helps in conserving energy which was otherwise wasted.

Unique Flavin the Key Player

Flavin-based electron bifurcation aids the enzyme in executing energy conserving chemistry, and the process is much stronger than any other that have been studied thus far. According to a lead researcher, one of the most profitable result of FBEB is fewer by-products from catalytic processes, which often cause extra money to industries. The possibilities with FBED is unlimited, hinting at making better products in future such as chemicals, hydrogen gas, and fuel.

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