Weird Microbe Turns Pee Into Rocket Fuel

jackalope

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Jan 2010
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WEIRD MICROBE TURNS PEE INTO ROCKET FUEL
The anammox bacterium can create rocket fuel from ammonia -- a chemical found in urine. Sadly, it won't get us to Mars.


Scientists on Sunday said they had gained insights into a remarkable bacterium that lives without oxygen and transforms ammonium, the ingredient of urine, into hydrazine, a rocket fuel.

So-called anammox -- for anaerobic ammonium oxidation -- germs caused a sensation when they were first identified in the 1990s, but uncovering their secrets is taking time.

In a letter published by the British science journal Nature, researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands reported they had identified the molecular mechanism by which the bugs do their fuel-trick.

(snip ... )

The team's work initially piqued NASA's interest, but this faded when the US space agency learned that only small quantities of precious hydrazine are produced, "nothing like enough to get a rocket to Mars," said Jetten.

more: Weird Microbe Turns Pee into Rocket Fuel : Discovery News

Okay - that is super cool! :)
 
Aug 2010
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See you in a new existence!
Yes. Such biotech advances could provide other sources. Imagine a microbe which could turn lunar rock into useful basic products such as oxygen, magnesium, silicon, steel (iron) and titanium?

Basalt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Relative to most common igneous rocks, basalt compositions are rich in MgO and CaO and low in SiO2 and the alkali oxides, i.e., Na2O + K2O, consistent with the TAS classification.
Basalt generally has a composition of 45-55 wt% SiO2, 2-6 wt% total alkalis, 0.5-2.0 wt% TiO2, 5-14 wt% FeO and 14 wt% or more Al2O3. Contents of CaO are commonly near 10 wt%, those of MgO commonly in the range 5 to 12 wt%.
Basalt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lunar basalts differ from their terrestrial counterparts principally in their high iron contents, which typically range from about 17 to 22 wt% FeO. They also possess a stunning range of titanium concentrations (present in the mineral ilmenite), ranging from less than 1 wt% TiO2, to about 13 wt.%. Traditionally, lunar basalts have been classified according to their titanium content, with classes being named high-Ti, low-Ti, and very-low-Ti. Nevertheless, global geochemical maps of titanium obtained from the Clementine mission demonstrate that the lunar maria possesses a continuum of titanium concentrations, and that the highest concentrations are the least abundant.
Subjects along these lines are being discussed here: http://www.politicalhotwire.com/science-technology/59899-china-advances-toward-dominance-space.html

http://www.politicalhotwire.com/science-technology/59998-colonizing-other-worlds-would-you-go.html
 

jackalope

Former Staff
Jan 2010
51,139
17,672
Maine
Yes. Such biotech advances could provide other sources. Imagine a microbe which could turn lunar rock into useful basic products such as oxygen, magnesium, silicon, steel (iron) and titanium?

Basalt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Basalt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Subjects along these lines are being discussed here: http://www.politicalhotwire.com/science-technology/59899-china-advances-toward-dominance-space.html

http://www.politicalhotwire.com/science-technology/59998-colonizing-other-worlds-would-you-go.html

That would be a very useful microbe, as well !
 
Jun 2011
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Pretty neat! And ... carbon negative to boot. Some cool stuff going on in the bug world :)
The one in Massachussets, I think would be carbon neutral POST-coal burning. In other words, these plant bacteria they were growing still needed to make the diesel and that meant carbon and the trace carbon in the air really wasn't enough, so to make it economical, they needed WASTE CO2 which kind've implies that they're grabbing carbon waste from a coal station or something, turning it into diesel; and then when you burn the diesel you're back to square 1, but it IS still a REDUCTION in a very real sense since now the coal burns, the CO2 is created, and the diesel is made and burned and the CO2 is created....Here we have one recycle step at least!
 
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