Researchers created CO2-eating bacteria to help fight global warming

Israeli researchers have developed a bacterium 'e-coli' that survives entirely by consuming carbon dioxide. On Wednesday, the Weizman Institute of Science, based in Central Israel, reported in its report that this bacterium produces its body's biomass from the carbon present in the atmosphere. Researchers say that this technology will not only reduce the increasing side effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere but will also help in fighting serious problems like global warming.

According to a study published in the journal Cell, the researchers ended their dependence on sugar after a decade-long process. The researchers then succeeded in re-programming his diet.

Earlier, these bacteria produced carbon dioxygen by consuming sugar, while after re-programming it started to produce sugar by consuming carbon dioxide. That is, they used the carbon present in the atmosphere to survive.

Image Credit: Journal Cell
For this research, the researchers created a special type of gene, which was inserted into the genome of bacteria in the lab. He said that such a gene was included in the bacteria, with the help of which he could take energy from an element named format.

“From a basic scientific perspective, we wanted to see if such a major transformation in the diet of bacteria – from dependence on sugar to the synthesis of all their biomass from CO2 – is possible,” said first author Shmuel Gleizer, a Weizmann Institute of Science postdoctoral fellow.

However, this was not enough to change the diet of bacteria. They were gradually separated from sugar to reprogram the bacteria. Bacteria started to be given at least a small amount of sugar in each process. Through this process, the dependence of bacteria on sugar was almost eliminated and gradually they became dependent on carbon dioxide instead of new diet.

“Our main aim was to create a convenient scientific platform that could enhance CO2 fixation, which can help address challenges related to sustainable production of food and fuels and global warming caused by CO2 emissions,” said senior author Ron Milo, a systems biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science. He further added that “This feat is a powerful proof of concept that opens up a new exciting prospect of using engineered bacteria to transform products we regard as waste into fuel, food or other compounds of interest”.

Researchers believe that this healthy habit of bacteria can prove to be very beneficial for the protection of the Earth, which is currently facing problems like global warming.

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