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Novel Synthesis of 2,5-Dimethylfuran from 5 (Chloromethyl)furfural

Researchers at the University of California Davis have developed an efficient synthesis of 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) from 5 (chloromethyl)furfural (CMF), a renewable platform chemical that can be produced under mild conditions and in high yields from sugars, cellulose, or directly from raw biomass.

Salmonella-Based Gene Delivery Vectors and their Preparation

Nucleic acid-based gene interference technologies, including ribozymes and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), represent promising gene-targeting strategies for specific inhibition of mRNA sequences of choice. A fundamental challenge to use nucleic acid-based gene interfering approaches for gene therapy is to deliver the gene interfering agents to appropriate cells in a way that is tissue/cell specific, efficient and safe. Many of the currently used vectors are based on attenuated or modified viruses, or synthetic vectors in which complexes of DNA, proteins, and/or lipids are formed in particles, and tissue-specific vectors have been only partially obtained by using carriers that specifically target certain cell types. As such, efficient and targeted delivery of M1GS sequences to specific cell types and tissues in vivo is central to developing this technology for gene targeting applications. Invasive bacteria, such as Salmonella, possess the ability to enter and transfer genetic material to human cells, leading to the efficient expression of transferred genes. Attenuated Salmonella strains have earlier been shown to function as a carrier system for delivery of nucleic acid-based vaccines and anti-tumor transgenes. Salmonella-based vectors are low cost and easy to prepare. Furthermore, they can be administrated orally in vivo, a non-invasive delivery route with significant advantage. Thus, Salmonella may represent a promising gene delivery agent for gene therapy. Scientists at UC Berkeley have developed a novel attenuated strain of Salmonella, SL101, which exhibited high gene transfer activity and low cytotoxicity/pathogenicity while efficiently delivering ribozymes, for expression in animals. Using MCMV infection of mice as the model, they demonstrated that oral inoculation of SL101 in animals efficiently delivered RNase P-based ribozyme sequence into specific organs, leading to substantial expression of ribozyme and effective inhibition of viral infection and pathogenesis. This strategy could easily be adopted deliver other gene targeting technologies.

Z-Scheme Microbial Photoelectrochemical System (Mps) For Wastewater-To-Chemical Fuel Conversion

With the drastic increase of human population, there is an ever-growing demand for energy and clean water for the continuous economic growth and suitable inhabitation on earth. Over the years, federal government has applied distinct strategies to address these two needs separately; the municipal wastewater is collected by local wastewater plants for purification and subsequent reuse as reclaimed water, while the energy source is mainly based on natural gas, and crude oil. Apparently, these two strategies are decoupled. Millions tons of wastewater is produced from industrial and agricultural operations each year and about 25 billion US dollars are spent annually for wastewater treatment in the United States alone. Meanwhile, the use of natural gas/petroleum generates a lot of greenhouse gas and toxic chemicals, which poses a serious threat to the environment, and also leads to additional cost to treat the pollution. There is urgent need to employ energy-efficient processes for wastewater treatment, and simultaneously recover the “wasted energy” contained as organic matter in wastewater.

Redirect Subcellular Lipid Droplet To Storage Or Excretion

Background: Biodiesel is a renewable and biodegradable fuel that minimizes pollution. The global biofuel market is forecasted to reach $24B with an estimated annual growth rate of 50% in the next 5 years. Therefore, current methods to retrieve biodiesel must be enhanced in order to meet high consumer and commercial demands. Brief Description: UCR researchers have developed a method to optimize biodiesel synthesis in plants by redirecting cytosolic lipid droplets (LDs) to the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum and then into protein storage vacuoles (PSVs). They successfully identified and modified a specific protein involved in directing lipids to various areas within the cell. Through restructuring and adding novel peptides, researchers were then able to re-route the fate of lipids into vacuoles for accumulation as well as elimination of metabolic feedback inhibition.

Fluorescent Biosensor for Methyltransferase Assay

Correct epigenetic regulation is essential to cellular development, and methyltransferases are enzymes important for epigenetic regulatory processes. They add methyl groups to their substrates, which can be DNA, proteins, or small-molecule secondary metabolites. Methyltransferases have been implicated in a number of diseases, including cancer, HIV infection, and diabetes, yet many remain uncharacterized.S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) is used as a methyl group donor by a majority of methyltransferases. Use of SAM by a methyltransferase results in the production of S-adenosyl homocysteine (SAH). SAM is found across all branches of life, and therefore represents a useful biological marker for methyltransferase activity. Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a sensitive and selective means of assaying methyltransferase activity. This assay monitors the presence of SAH, and can be used for high-throughput screening.

Improved Generation of Terpene and Other High-Value Bioproducts from Cyanobacteria and Microalgae

Cyanobacteria and other microalgae can be used as photosynthetic platforms to heterologously generate terpene hydrocarbons and other high-value bioproducts. In addition to being a renewable and biological means of synthesis, cyanobacteria can be grown in high-volume liquid cultures; and terpenes are key ingredients in synthetic chemistry, medical products, cosmetics, and potentially fuels. However, current approaches to generating terpene using microalgae exhibit slow rates of production.   To address these low production levels, researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a method to increase transgenic terpene synthase expression resulting in high rates and yields of terpene hydrocarbon synthesis.   In proof-of-principle experiments, this Berkeley method yielded 20-fold higher amounts of terpene product, which could be easily harvested by siphoning off the top of the culture.

Carbon Sequestration Using a Magnetic Treatment System

The technology is a technique for the capture and removal of carbonates in natural water sources.It features the use of an alternating electromagnetic field (AMF) to induce the formation of calcium carbonate or other carbonate compounds in suspension in water source. Additionally, carbonate compounds are removed using filtration device.

Tunable Vapor-Condensed Nano-Lenses

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed an improved and cost-efficient nanolens to visualize nanoparticles and viral particles with 50 fold greater detection and more than 10 fold field-of-view compared to other imaging modalities.

High-Throughput Rapid Screening Platform For Microalgal Biofuel Applications

Algal photosynthesis is now considered a sustainable alternative and renewable solution for green energy, however, the large number of screening processes required significantly delay the time for the pragmatic applications.  Therefore, the success of algal biofuel energy production depends on the rapidity and efficiency of algal strain selections for various biofuel aspects.   UC Berkeley researchers have developed a high-throughput rapid screening platform for microalgal biofuel applications.  The screening platform enables optical field enhancement with an optical spectrum favorable to photosynthesis and enhanced intercellular interactions.  The platform shows a high rate of population growth and a significant reduction of lag-phase duration.  

Novel Methods and Devices for Bacteriophage Detection

UC Davis researchers have developed a rapid and highly sensitive method for detecting bacteriophage contamination and a portable device to carry out the method. The invention is suitable for detection of low levels of phage contamination in food and bioprocessing industry starter cultures and diverse raw materials.

Biological Conversion Of Ethylene To n-Butanol And Other Chemicals Using E. Coli

In the midst of declining fossil fuel reserves and a great expansion of natural gas production, increased efforts has been expended in seeking to commercialize the conversion of natural gas into chemical feedstocks and fuels as an alternative to petroleum. Many methods to convert methane to ethylene have been developed. Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed novel methods using Escherichia coli as a biocatalyst to convert ethylene to acetyl-CoA and ultimately n-butanol, which is a potential fuel substitute and an important C4 chemical feedstock.

Novel catalysts for use in direct production of sugar acids and sugar oligomers from cellulosic biomass

A method of production of sugar oligosaccharides and sugar oligosaccharide adonic acids directly from inexpensive cellulosic biomass. Researchers have engineered a fungus that can directly produce sugar oligosaccharides and/or sugar oligosaccharide adonic acids from cellulose without any addition of exogenous cellulase. Sugar oligosccahride adonic acids are valuable chemicals numerous applications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and chemical industries. Sugar oligosaccharides can be used as feedstock for further fuels and chemicals production.

Fully Alloyed Silver and Gold Nanostructures

Background: Biomolecular imaging is important in understanding characteristics of molecules and analyzing quantitative  data for research. Gold has been used for Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) which is utilized  for biomolecular imaging. Because of Gold’s high stability structurally and chemically, it is resourceful in this sort of technology.  Compared to Gold, Silver does not have as strong of a stability in non ideal chemical environments, but has high reactivity, supports strong surface plasmon polarization modes, and has higher storage of electrical energy than Gold.Description: UCR researchers have created Silver-Gold  alloy nanospheres through annealing techniques which may be used in SPR that creates optimal and effective results.  By annealing the Silver and Gold metal alloy, it has shown remarkable stability in harsh chemical environments, extremely narrow bandwidths, and shows large extinction pathways. These  specific characteristics enable many plasmonic applications with high performance and long lifetime, especially any involving corrosive species making the Silver-Gold alloy the most favorable choice for SPR.

Improvements to Producing Biofuel from Cyanobacteria

Generating fuel and chemicals from the photosynthesis of cyanobacteria has great potential – especially in comparison to other approaches to producing biofuels. However, improving the efficiency of the cyanobacteria photosynthetic process is necessary to lowering the production costs of the resulting biofuel – so that it is more cost-competitive with conventional fuels. To address this opportunity, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a novel approach to improving the photosynthetic efficiency of cyanobacteria. This Berkeley innovation is based on minimizing the phycobilisome light-harvesting antenna, and it has shown an increase in the saturation of photosynthesis by a factor of about two. This increase in efficiency in a population of cells would decrease the cost associated with producing isoprene, beta-phellandrene, and other chemicals from cyanobacteria photosynthesis.

Production of Glycolipid Biosurfactants from Yeasts

Method of using basidiomycetous yeasts to convert carbohydrates to glycolipid biosurfactants.

Biological Production of Industrial Small Esters

Microorganism engineered to produce various C4-C8 esters.

Sampling Cartridge for Gas-Phase Ammonia and Amines

The purpose of the technology is the efficient measurement of gas-phase ammonia and amines that minimizes exposure of sample to instrument surfaces prior to measurement. Measuring ammonia and/or amines at atmospherically relevant concentrations for use in industrial and/or pharmaceutical processes. The technology is a sampling cartridge for measurement of gas-phase ammonia and amines. Properties include: a detection limit in low ppt, short sampling times (<60 min), ability to operate at atmospherically relevant conditions. The cartridges are long lasting and easily regenerated and have higher quality detection limits for evaluation of gases.

Cellulosic Gasoline

Brief description not available

Novel method to Efficiently Synthesize complex Carbohydrates

Tumor Associated Carbohydrate Antigens (TACAs), have been in great demand due their use as target therapies and industrial relevance. Unfortunately, Pk trisaccharide, the precursor to the globo series of TACAs requires eleven steps to synthesize using current technologies, seven of which are used to develop an orthogonally protected lactose. This is a very costly and painstaking process. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have developed a two-step method to synthesize orthogonally protected lactose from commercially available lactose, and a three step method to synthesize Pk, providing economic relief and time saving benefits for consumers and manufacturers of TACAs.

Metabolic Engineering Of Anaerobic Fungal Pathways For The Production Of Biofuels And Antimicrobial Compounds

A novel method of manipulating metabolic networks and pathways within anaerobic gut fungi for their use in the production of lignocellulose-degrading enzymes and novel polyketide synthases (PKSs).

Chemical Triggers to Improve Lipid Production by Microalgae

Oils produced by microalgae can be harvested and converted to biodiesel. New research has successfully improved the yield of oil from algae by using chemical triggers to regulate algal metabolic pathways. As a result, CO2 is sequestered, yield is increased, and there is greater viability in producing clean energy to replace petroleum.

Functional Illumination In Living Cells

Current cell imaging techniques have been used to elucidate a variety of cell signaling pathways, and yet the most popular cell imaging tool, Fluorescent Proteins, have low fluorescence due to improper folding of chimeras and often inhibit cell function due to their large molecular weight. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have developed a novel method of developing a wide array of small functional illuminants that do not hinder cell function.

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