Cyborg bacteria outperform plants when turning sunlight into useful compounds

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Photosynthesis provides energy for the vast majority of life on Earth. But chlorophyll, the green pigment that plants use to harvest sunlight, is relatively inefficient. To enable humans to capture more of the sun’s energy than natural photosynthesis can, scientists have taught bacteria to cover themselves in tiny, highly efficient solar panels (FOR EXAMPLE: SUNJACK 14W PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER ) to produce useful compounds.

The researchers are presenting their work today at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“Rather than rely on inefficient chlorophyll to harvest sunlight, I’ve taught bacteria how to grow and cover their bodies with tiny semiconductor nanocrystals,” says Kelsey K. Sakimoto, Ph.D., who carried out the research in the lab of Peidong Yang, Ph.D. “These nanocrystals are much more efficient than chlorophyll and can be grown at a fraction of the cost of manufactured solar panels.”

Humans increasingly are looking to find alternatives to fossil fuels as sources of energy and feedstocks for chemical production. Many scientists have worked to create artificial photosynthetic systems to generate renewable energy and simple organic chemicals using sunlight. Progress has been made, but the systems are not efficient enough for commercial production of fuels and feedstocks.

Research in Yang’s lab at the University of California, Berkeley, where Sakimoto earned his Ph.D., focuses on harnessing inorganic semiconductors that can capture sunlight to organisms such as bacteria that can then use the energy to produce useful chemicals from carbon dioxide and water. “The thrust of research in my lab is to essentially ‘supercharge’ nonphotosynthetic bacteria by providing them energy in the form of electrons from inorganic semiconductors, like cadmium sulfide, that are efficient light absorbers,” Yang says. “We are now looking for more benign light absorbers than cadmium sulfide to provide bacteria with energy from light.”

Sakimoto worked with a naturally occurring, nonphotosynthetic bacterium, Moorella thermoacetica, which, as part of its normal respiration, produces acetic acid from carbon dioxide (CO2). Acetic acid is a versatile chemical that can be readily upgraded to a number of fuels, polymers, pharmaceuticals and commodity chemicals through complementary, genetically engineered bacteria.

When Sakimoto fed cadmium and the amino acid cysteine, which contains a sulfur atom, to the bacteria, they synthesized cadmium sulfide (CdS) nanoparticles, which function as solar panels on their surfaces. The hybrid organism, M. thermoacetica-CdS, produces acetic acid from CO2, water and light. “Once covered with these tiny solar panels, the bacteria can synthesize food, fuels and plastics, all using solar energy,” Sakimoto says. “These bacteria outperform natural photosynthesis.”

The bacteria operate at an efficiency of more than 80 percent, and the process is self-replicating and self-regenerating, making this a zero-waste technology. “Synthetic biology and the ability to expand the product scope of CO2 reduction will be crucial to poising this technology as a replacement, or one of many replacements, for the petrochemical industry,” Sakimoto says.

So, do the inorganic-biological hybrids have commercial potential? “I sure hope so!” he says. “Many current systems in artificial photosynthesis require solid electrodes, which is a huge cost. Our algal biofuels are much more attractive, as the whole CO2-to-chemical apparatus is self-contained and only requires a big vat out in the sun.” But he points out that the system still requires some tweaking to tune both the semiconductor and the bacteria. He also suggests that it is possible that the hybrid bacteria he created may have some naturally occurring analog. “A future direction, if this phenomenon exists in nature, would be to bioprospect for these organisms and put them to use,” he says.

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Plug-and-Play Solar Generator for Backup Power

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Two Idaho entities, one a university, the other a private company, have joined forces to design a portable, 5-kW solar generator with the goal of powering everything in a typical home from the lights to the refrigerator to the clothes dryer.

It all started when a University of Idaho (UI) researcher and an executive from Inergy Solar met at a 2015 workshop conducted by the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM). State-funded IGEM’s reason for being is to connect Idaho energy entrepreneurs with university faculty studying related topics in order to encourage private-public partnerships. The ultimate goal: enhancing the role universities play in helping businesses in the state grow and creating more economic opportunities.

Inergy, a marketer of portable solar generators, is a familiar name to outdoor enthusiasts and those who just want some time off the grid. The company makes a small, lightweight, 1-kW Kodiak generator system. According to CEO Sean Luangrath, customers have encouraged the company to step up the energy capacity for a system that would power an entire home without sacrificing the small size (9”x14”x9”) and portability (20 pounds). The more powerful generator planned will have five times the capacity of the smaller product, and the goal is to keep it under 100 pounds.

When Luangrath met Herb Hess, UI professor in the College of Engineering, he immediately recognized that Hess’s program had the exact expertise and resources he had been looking for. (That same year Hess became a partner in a $1.6-million grant from the Office of Naval Research to develop a 250-kW inverter incorporating advanced materials. The thinking is those same materials, mainly gallium nitride, might be used in conjunction with Inergy’s “compact” technology and be able to reduce the weight and dimensions of a larger inverter.)

Soon after that first meeting, the project was awarded a one-year, $178,000 grant from the IGEM program to develop a 5,000-W inverter using gallium nitride instead of silicon. “A gallium nitride unit is significantly smaller and somewhat more efficient so doesn’t generate as much heat which means we can keep the rest of the device smaller too,” Hess says.

In addition to working with the new semiconductor material, which has been called “the next silicon,” this project’s research will include a focus on network cybersecurity protection. Because of this, Hess recruited to the team Gregory Donohue, a professor of computer engineering, to serve as a link between Inergy Solar and UI’s Center for Secure and Dependable Systems, a unit that conducts research in cyber security. He will also oversee the design of a system to allow Inergy Solar’s generators to connect to an existing power grid, or to other neighboring systems.

Donohoe says the model for the future of alternative energy must incorporate the distribution of energy, either locally or back into the central grid. But that connection opens up the opportunity for hackers to disrupt or damage the system. “The old model of central power transmission and distribution just doesn’t scale very well to solar,” he adds.

Although the biggest challenge may be the size and weight of the inverter, which turns DC power from the sun into the AC power used by most home appliances, that’s not the only challenge.

“Another is how to deal with the heat, which is going to be significantly greater for a larger piece of equipment than the smaller model,” Hess says. “As with any electronic gear, there is a certain amount of waste heat generated that has to be taken out of the electronics.”

Hess foresees the new system to be, as with the smaller version, plug and play. “The idea is that the homeowner comes home with this under his or her arm, sets it down, and lays down some solar panels outside,” he says. The generator itself can be placed inside, with the most likely spot near the home’s circuit breaker panel ( for example: RENOGY 250 WATT SOLAR PANEL  )to be plugged in and then there would be wires going outside to the solar panel.

“We’d like to put the control of it online for access from wherever someone might have access to the internet,” says Hess.

If connected to the main grid or to a local area network, there would have to be a broker, very likely the power company, and a switchable, electrical network that connects the houses and the utility as well as a communications network to negotiate buying and selling or trading of power. While a logical communication medium is the Internet, that again puts the system at risk to hackers. Then the question is, says Donohoe, “How do we make it accessible and easy to use yet remain secure from hackers?”

The generator system that Hess and his team have begun designing will also have storage capability since he doesn’t expect many people will go off the grid entirely. “Most people looking to do their own energy still like reliability, which has been the hallmark of the North American power system for the past 80 years,” he says. “They will likely rely on the power company to provide energy storage when they can’t generate their own.”

Natural Supplements-Are The Treatment For All Conditions

Organic Supplements

Supplements that are called natural routinely have a higher information of minerals and vitamins, which is why they’re getting thus well-received. Dangerous alloys, including mercury, direct, and metal, are observed in significantly small amounts set alongside the no-natural nutritional vitamin supplements.

Numerous herbal medicines are greatest for that health of these who consider them-and work-in numerous methods to assist particular health problems and conditions. As the natural and organic complement tablets are usually the ones that are consumed, it may be definitely better to make use of the fluid selection since these are easier for that body to digest.

Not everybody will need to make use of a supplement to be able to remain healthy; nevertheless there are numerous conditions where in actuality organic supplements, nutrients, and herbs works for their optimum degree. Those people who are operating towards muscle building will discover they need the natural products to be able to create your body within the littlest period of time.

Whenever various conditions occur, natural products may be used properly. Most of the herbs and nutrients included inside the health supplements can perhaps work to alleviate again vexation, complications, along with a quantity of additional distressing medical conditions. This really is particularly true once the discomfort exists due to a shortage of the specific nutritional within the physique. Those people who are hypersensitive to a lot of of the artificial elements that are often contained in no-natural products will discover the natural choice to be always a excellent answer to get the necessary supplements to get a vibrant existence.

The fluid supplements-are usually the ones that are recommended with a physician because they are the absolute most focused. These natural supplements-are usually employed for particular problems, therefore talking to a health care provider that utilizes naturopathic techniques could possibly be the easiest way to find the products which are required for the healthier lifestyle.

Greenville jewelry store robbed

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REENVILLE, NC (WNCT) – The Greenville Police Department is investigating a break-in at Robinson Jewelers.

According to a police report, just before 1:30 a.m. on Friday, officers responded to 608 E. Arlington Blvd. The front door of Robinson Jewelers was smashed open and used Pulsar Watches were reportedly stolen.

At this time, police are not releasing any information regarding the suspect. If you have any information on this crime, please contact GPD or Crime Stoppers.

7 Reasons to Add a Podcast to Your Content-Marketing Strategy

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No matter what business you’re in, chances are you have some competition. Maybe your product or service is superior to other options that exist in your market. Maybe it isn’t. Having the best offer doesn’t matter. Instead, concentrate on making sure your target market perceives your company’s deal to be the right one for them. Until they believe, they may never buy from you.

How can you set yourself apart from all the other alternatives? Publishing content online is a great start, as long at it’s high-quality material that truly helps consumers within your target market. Your published pieces should build goodwill, earn trust and position you as an authority in your industry.

Potential customers in your target market are struggling with something. Something is keeping them up at night. They want a specific result, and they’re willing to pay for it. Because we live in the information age, they’re likely searching for online information — content — that can help them find a solution.

This is exactly why every business today needs a content marketing strategy. A sound plan ensures your target market will find you when they start looking for answers.

In his book “Epic Content Marketing,” Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi offers the best definition of “content” I’ve seen. Pulizzi describes content marketing as “the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Understand how content can help.

Well-researched and thoughtfully written content helps your target audience — at no cost to them. It’s crucial that you also give them a specific call to action, or CTA. Urge them to visit your website, book a free consultation or subscribe to your newsletter. Any of these tools opens the door to building a relationship and acquiring a customer.

There are as many different types of content as there are people searching for it. Blog posts, magazine articles, videos, webinars, white papers and e-books are some of the most common. The list goes on and on. The sheer possibilities leave many entrepreneurs and organizations feeling overwhelmed. Unsure of which types of content to pursue, they sit on the sidelines.

My recommendation: If you’re not already engaging your target market with podcasts, prepare to launch your first piece of audio content. Here are seven ways you’ll benefit right along with your customers.

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8 Powerful Ways to Market Your Business on a Limited Budget

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According to HubSpot, the third top marketing challenge for companies is the lack of budgeting resources. Unless you are a startup with venture or angel capital, you probably have a limited marketing budget. Here some ways you can market your business on a limited budget.

1. Go guerilla.

Guerilla marketing looks to leverage creativity, imagination and originality in place of a big budget. Smart small businesses with a limited budget often use guerilla marketing to compete with huge companies. There is no shortage of creative guerilla marketing ideas. Here are just a few examples:

  • If you have a brick and mortar location, pay someone to create eye-catching art with chalk.
  • If you sell a product that can be used on the street, employ undercover agents to promote your product directly to potential customers. For example, Sony hired agents to ask strangers to take photos of them and then raved about their camera.
  • Organize a flash mob to garner crowd attention and promote awareness of your brand.

2. Socialize on social media.

According to the Pew Research Center Report of Social Media Usage: 2005-2015, nearly two-thirds of American adults use social media now. This is a near tenfold increase within the last decade.

Popular social media channels include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Snapchat. Each of these social media platforms are unique in its own right and require unique ways of engagement. Rather than try to master it all at once, choose a few you like and try to master those first.

3. Create valuable content.

Not only do potential customers love great content, but so does Google. There are many ways to share information — blogging, creating videos, hosting podcasts, designing infographics or submitting articles to online authority sites. Not only do you gain authority as an expert, but you also get free traffic. You can also offer to be a guest blogger for another complementary website or be interviewed on a podcast.

You don’t always have to produce the content yourself. You can hire freelance writers, graphic designers and personal assistants through websites like Upwork. If you run out of ideas, you can repurpose old content and give it a new spin.

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10 Strategies to Drive More Backlinks

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1. Blogger reviews.

Decide on something you can give away in exchange for a review. It can be software, an informational product, physical product, or service. Anything of value that bloggers in your niche would want to try and write about is fair game. Find bloggers in your niche searching for things like “best content marketing blogs 2016” or “top social media strategies for businesses”

Reach out to them with this email script:

Hello [name],

I was searching for some [topic] today when I came across your site.

I really liked what I saw!

I just launched a guide that teaches people how to [relate to their topic above]. I usually charge $X, but I’d be more than happy to send it over to you at no charge. All I’d ask is that you’d consider mentioning it on your blog or writing a review.

Let me know how that sounds.

Sincerely,

[Your name and contact information]

2. Give testimonials.

List all of the products and services that you’ve used over the last six to 12 months. Check to see if their websites have a testimonials page. Here are 11 examples of some excellent testimonial pages from the hubspot blog to show you what you are looking for.

Reach out to them with your testimonial. Mention that they have permission to include it on their testimonials page.

3. Link reclamation.

Find sites that mention you and your brand online (you can use a tool like BuzzSumo to help with this). Check to see if they’ve linked to you.

If not, reach out with a friendly email to ask them to add your link.

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