biosynthetics

Molecule of the Day: Vanillin

Vanilla is one of the world’s most popular flavours, being found in ice creams to creme brulees. But what gives vanilla pods their characteristic creamy, sweet scent? That would be vanillin (C8H8O3), a white solid that is slightly soluble in water.

Raw vanilla pods do not have any vanillin in them; it is instead stored as a scentless glycoside (see below). However, after the pods are cured and treated, the glycoside breaks down to release the free vanillin, producing the wonderful scent that we all know and love. Vanillin is also one of the contributors to the scent of old books; over time, the lignin that comprises the fibres in the pages break down, releasing aroma chemicals such as vanillin.

The biosynthetic pathway for vanillin is unknown. It is produced synthetically on an industrial scale from guaiacol and glyoxylic acid instead, as the demand for vanillin vastly outweighs the natural supply. 

Vanillin is widely used as a flavouring in a wide range of foods, usually as artificial vanilla essence, as well as a perfume additive. It is also used as a chemical intermediate in organic syntheses.

Originally posted by butteryplanet

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After starting medical marijuana treatment, this 3-year-old’s daily seizures went from 100 to 10 

To combat her constant epileptic seizures, Addyson Benton’s family relocated to just outside Denver, Colorado, where they could legally purchase a marijuana-extract specially designed for Addyson using THCA, a biosynthetic precursor of THC, the active component of cannabis. Within hours of taking the patch, Addyson’s health took a 180 — and improved several common functions.

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Vachellia farnesiana, also known as Acacia farnesiana, and previously Mimosa farnesiana, commonly known as needle bush, is so named because of the numerous thorns distributed along its branches. The native range of V. farnesiana is uncertain. While the point of origin is Mexico and Central America, the species has a pantropical distribution incorporating northern Australia and southern Asia. It remains unclear whether the extra-American distribution is primarily natural or anthropogenic.[1] It is deciduous over part of its range,[2] but evergreen in most locales.[3] The species grows to a height of up to 8 m (26 ft)[4] and has a lifespan of about 25–50 years.

The plant has been recently spread to many new locations as a result of human activity and it is considered a serious weed in Fiji, where locals call it Ellington’s curse. It thrives in dry, saline, or sodic soils. It is also a serious pest plant in parts of Australia, including north-west New South Wales, where it now infests thousands of acres of grazing country.[6]

The taxon name farnesianais specially named after Odoardo Farnese (1573–1626) of the notable Italian Farnese family which, after 1550, under the patronage of cardinal Alessandro Farnese, maintained some of the first private European botanical gardens in Rome, in the 16th and 17th centuries. Under stewardship of these Farnese Gardens this acacia was imported to Italy.[7] The plant itself was brought to the Farnese Gardens from the Caribbean and Central America, where it originates.[8][9]Analysis of essences of the floral extract from this plant, long used in perfumery, resulted in the name for the sesquiterpene biosynthetic chemical farnesol, found as a basic sterol precursor in plants, and cholesterol precursor in animals.[8]

wikipedia

Needle bush in bloom; on a farm estate outside of Doha, Qatar

“I am old, older than thought in your species, which is itself fifty times older than your history. Though I have been on earth for ages I am from the stars. My home is no one planet, for many worlds scattered through the shining disc of the galaxy have conditions which allow my spores an opportunity for life. The mushroom which you see is the part of my body given to sex thrills and sun bathing, my true body is a fine network of fibers growing through the soil. These networks may cover acres and may have far more connections that the number in a human brain. My mycelial network is nearly immortal, only the sudden toxification of a planet or the explosion of its parent star can wipe me out. By means impossible to explain because of certain misconceptions in your model of reality all my mycelial networks in the galaxy are in hyperlight communication across space and time. The mycelial body is as fragile as a spider’s web but the collective hypermind and memory is a vast historical archive of the career of evolving intelligence on many worlds in our spiral star swarm. Space, you see, is a vast ocean to those hardy life forms that have the ability to reproduce from spores, for spores are covered with the hardest organic substance known. Across the aeons of time and space drift many spore-forming life-forms in suspended animation for millions of years until contact is made with a suitable environment. Few such species are minded, only myself and my recently evolved near relatives have achieved the hyper-communication mode and memory capacity that makes us leading members in the community of galactic intelligence. How the hypercommunication mode operates is a secret which will not be lightly given to man. But the means should be obvious: it is the occurrence of psilocybin and psilocin in the biosynthetic pathways of my living body that opens for me and my symbiots the vision screens to many worlds.

Since it is not easy for you to recognize other varieties of intelligence around you, your most advanced theories of politics and society have advanced only as far as the notion of collectivism. But beyond the cohesion of the members of a species into a single social organism there lie richer and even more baroque evolutionary possibilities. Symbiosis is one of these. Symbiosis is a relation of mutual dependence and positive benefits for both of the species involved. Symbiotic relationships between myself and civilized forms of higher animals have been established many times and in many places throughout the long ages of my development. These relationships have been mutually useful; within my memory is the knowledge of hyperlight drive ships and how to build them. I will trade this knowledge for a free ticket to new worlds around suns younger and more stable than your own. To secure an eternal existence down the long river of cosmic time I again and again offer this agreement to higher beings and thereby have spread throughout the galaxy over the long millennia. A mycelial network has no organs to move the world, no hands; but higher animals with manipulative abilities can become partners with the star knowledge within me and if they act in good faith, return both themselves and their humble mushroom teacher to the million worlds all citizens of our starswarm are heir to.”


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Scientists come up with rocket fuel made naturally from bacteria

A team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology may have come up with a cheaper and more sustainable energy source: bacteria. The scientists developed a genetically-engineered bacteria that produces a biosynthetic fuel called pinene which, in its dimer form, has a similar energy density to JP-10.

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ATP: The Energy Bearing Molecule in all Living Cells

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a nucleoside triphosphate used in cells as a coenzyme, often called the “molecular unit ofcurrency” of intracellular energy transfer.

ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. It is one of the end products of photophosphorylation, cellular respiration, and fermentation and used by enzymes and structural proteins in many cellular processes, including biosynthetic reactions, motility, and cell division.

One molecule of ATP contains three phosphate groups, and it is produced by a wide variety of enzymes, including ATP synthase, from adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or adenosine monophosphate (AMP) and various phosphate group donors.Substrate-level phosphorylation, oxidative phosphorylation in cellular respiration, and photophosphorylation in photosynthesis are three major mechanisms of ATP biosynthesis.

Metabolic processes that use ATP as an energy source convert it back into its precursors. ATP is therefore continuously recycled in organisms: the human body, which on average contains only 250 grams (8.8 oz) of ATP, turns over its own body weight equivalent in ATP each day.

Rotating molecule gif by me: rudescience

In Significant Advance for Artificial Photosynthesis, a Machine and Living Bacteria Work Together to Make Fuel

Scientists say they have merged living organisms with nanotechnology to mimic the photosynthesis plants use to make energy.  

Blending chemistry, biology and materials science, the team from the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory created a living-synthetic hybrid system. The process brings together nanowires and bacteria (seen in the image above) to convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide in the air into valuable chemicals like liquid fuel, plastics and pharmaceuticals.

Like plants, the system uses solar power to make complex molecules from simple ones. In contrast to the carbohydrates and oxygen that are the product of natural photosynthesis, the new device converts CO2 into acetate, which is the building block for a number of industrially useful chemicals.

“We believe our system is a revolutionary leap forward in the field of artificial photosynthesis,” said Peidong Yang, a Berkeley Lab chemist who was one of the project leaders. “Our system has the potential to fundamentally change the chemical and oil industry in that we can produce chemicals and fuels in a totally renewable way, rather than extracting them from deep below the ground.”

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alliethefeminist-deactivated201  asked:

Hey! I'm also artsciencenursng and commented on the sweet potato picture about GMOs.. Thanks for the correction. Just wondering if you could share your opinion/knowledge since you seem to know a lot about seeds and agriculture :) Is it true that GM fruits/veggies can't be sprouted/produce seeds because of the chemical changes made the the seeds? Also, does organic alway mean GMO free? Thanks! -Allison

Hey! Thanks for getting back to me on that. I appreciate having a conversation about this stuff, because there is not enough exchange between the medical community and the agricultural community on what a lot of these terms mean: which it makes it even more confusing for the general public!

Genetically Modified Organisms,” or GMOs, are organisms that have had their genetic makeup altered through a process called genetic engineering. There are a variety of techniques used in genetic engineering: some of the earliest examples are genetically modifying bacteria and viruses for use in specialised delivery of medicines. For example, a biosynthetic insulin (Humulin) was synthesised in 1978 from a lab culture of genetically-modified E. coli, and since then, it has eliminated the need for patients to use animal insulin, which was both cruel to animals, and caused infection in patients.

Genetically modified crops are created with genetic engineering techniques for many purposes, some of them being improved shelf lifeimproved nutritionstress resistanceherbicide resistancepathogen resistance, and the production of biofuels.

Usually, the issues with these crops aren’t that they “cause cancer,” as no reputable study has ever shown they are harmful to human health. The issues with GMO crops is that they are patented, and seeds cannot be harvested year-after-year, nurturing a dependency on seed providers; farmers who harvest and re-plant self-harvested seeds risk intellectual property lawsuits. GMO crops also displace native and heirloom food and fibre crops on local markets, and these crops have been created through hundreds of years of artificial selection to be suited to their unique biomes, and farmed sustainably. Pesticide-resistant strains of cash crops like cotton encourage the current unsustainable mode of monoculture/pesticide-heavy farming, which in turn contributes to increased plant disease, insecticidal resistance, soil erosion, and the destruction of forests, unique biomes, and animal habitats.

Further, in places like the EU, things like seed-swapping are becoming more and more close to being totally illegal. This masquerades as a form of biosecurity, but is more likely being pushed through by seed company lobbies, who would like a monopoly on the market.

GMOs are a band-aid solution to a broken food and agriculture system, and from my point of view they do not address the fundamental environmental problems in the way we currently farm. There are further complex issues, such as gene flow into wild crops, that are of serious concern to those of us interested in the preservation of crop diversity. The Irish Potato Famine was largely caused by the fact that there was a genetic bottleneck in the potato population in Europe: one variety of potato in particular, the Irish Lumper, was grown, and this lack of diversity made the population extremely vulnerable when late blight (Phytophthora infestans) swept through the country. If you have studied biology, you know that diversity is the one of the greatest sources of resiliency in a population: it’s the reason why organisms like us reproduce sexually instead of asexually, because sexual reproduction increases the number of unique combinations of DNA in the population, and makes our species less vulnerable to disease. By this same token, when we depend so totally on a few carefully-engineered crops, be they GMO or otherwise, we risk the resiliency of our food system and biomes, should new agricultural diseases arise and mutate (as they always do, in this evolutionary arms race).

Now, the ability of an organism to produce fruit without being fertilised (ie. not producing viable seed) is called parthenocarpy. It has been around for longer than genetic engineering, because of the desirability (for consumers) of food crops like seedless grapes, watermelons, and oranges. I have two fig trees in my garden, and I live in Denmark, outside of the range of the fig wasp, which is a specialised pollinator of these plants. I can still harvest fruits, because the varieties I grow are bred to produce parthenocarpic “virgin fruit,” and propagated asexually, through what we gardeners call “cuttings,” which is a sort of cloning you can do in your own backyard. The so-called “Terminator Seeds” you are referencing in your question are a myth of the anti-GMO/anti-Monsanto movement, and they have never actually been brought to mass market. 

Seedless GMO eggplant has been developed and tested, and the result has been a more nutritious and larger fruit. Biology is a realm of trade-offs: take the sweet potato you reblogged earlier. When a tuber like a sweet potato sprouts, it sends energy to the newly emerging growth, taking it from the stored energy in the tuber. A sprouted sweet potato is not a nutritious sweet potato. Similarly, the production of seeds takes energy, which is instead put into the fruit when said organism is parthenocarpic. 

As for your other question: certified organic does not mean GMO-free, and organic means one thing in the United States, another thing here in European Union, and still another thing in other parts of the world. The initiative towards labelling GMOs is, in fact, actually damaging for the organic movement, because it provides an opportunity for companies to engage in a deceptive marketing practice called “greenwashing.”

Monsanto actually makes a number of organic products, but their history as a chemical company who made such horrific products as Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs, rBGH (a dairy cow hormone responsible for pus in your milk), and Aspartame, combined with their penchant for suing small farmers into bankruptcy, has given them a serious PR problem. The infamous, and much-maligned Monsanto Bt toxin insecticidal corn is so-condemned because people don’t know that Bt is derived from a bacteria, and has been used in certified organic farming since the 1920s, alongside other organically-derived insecticides such as neem oil.

Long story short, people are afraid of GMOs because they have been told they are scary “Frankenfoods,” which distracts and discredits people who resist GMO practices for other reasons, be they social justice or ecological ones.

This is a long answer that I hope covers some of your concerns. Hopefully you can take this knowledge back to your nursing peers! Thanks again for asking questions!

The brain in love! Happy Valentines Day!

Neurotransmitters are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse. Neurotransmitters are packaged into synaptic vesicles clustered beneath the membrane in the axon terminal, on the presynaptic side of a synapse. They are released into and diffuse across the synaptic cleft, where they bind to specific receptors in the membrane on the postsynaptic side of the synapse. Release of neurotransmitters usually follows arrival of an action potential at the synapse, but may also follow graded electrical potentials. Low level “baseline” release also occurs without electrical stimulation. Many neurotransmitters are synthesized from plentiful and simple precursors, such as amino acids, which are readily available from the diet and which require only a small number of biosynthetic steps to convert.

The mushroom speaks, and our opinions rest upon what it tells eloquently of itself in the cool night of the mind:

“I am old, older than thought in your species, which is itself fifty times older than your history. Though I have been on earth for ages I am from the stars. My home is no one planet, for many worlds scattered though the shining disc of the galaxy have conditions which allow my spores an opportunity for life. The mushroom which you see is the part of my body given to sex thrills and sun bathing, my true body is a fine network of fibers growing through the soil. These networks may cover acres and may have far more connections than the number in a human brain. My mycelial network is nearly immortal–only the sudden toxification of a planet or the explosion of its parent star can wipe me out. By means impossible to explain because of certain misconceptions in your model of reality all my mycelial networks in the galaxy are in hyperlight communication across space and time. The mycelial body is as fragile as a spider’s web but the collective hypermind and memory is a vast historical archive of the career of evolving intelligence on may worlds in our spiral star swarm. Space, you see, is a vast ocean to those hardly life forms that have the ability to reproduce from spores, for spores are covered with the hardest organic substance known. Across the aeons of time and space drift many spore-forming life-forms in suspended animation for millions of years until contact is made with a suitable environment. Few such species are minded, only myself and my recently evolved near relatives have achieved the hyper-communication mode and memory capacity that makes us leading members in the community of galactic intelligence. How the hyper-communication mode operates is a secret which will not be lightly given to humans. But the means should be obvious: it is the occurrence of psilocybin and psilocin in the biosynthetic pathways of my living body that opens for me and my symbiots the vision screens to many worlds. You as an individual and Homo sapiens as a species are on the brink of the formation of a symbiotic relationship with my genetic material that will eventually carry humanity and earth into the galactic mainstream of the higher civilizations.

Since it is not easy for you to recognize other varieties of intelligence around you, your most advanced theories of politics and society have advanced only as far as the notion of collectivism. But beyond the cohesion of the members of a species into a single social organism there lie richer and even more baroque evolutionary possibilities. Symbiosis is one of these. Symbiosis is a relation of mutual dependence and positive benefits for both of the species involved. Symbiotic relationships between myself and civilized forms of higher animals have been established many times and in many places throughout the long ages of my development. These relationships have been mutually useful; within my memory is the knowledge of hyper-light drive ships and how to build them. I will trade this knowledge for a free ticket to new worlds around suns younger and more stable than your own. To secure an eternal existence down the long river of cosmic time, I again and again offer this agreement to higher beings and thereby have spread throughout the galaxy over the long millenia. A mycelial network has no organs to move the world, no hands; but higher animals with manipulative abilities can become partners with the star knowledge within me and if they act in good faith, return both themselves and their humble mushroom teacher to the million worlds to which all citizens of our starswarm are heir.”

—  O.T. Oss & O.N. Oeric (Terence McKenna and Dennis McKenna), Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide: a handbook for psilocybin enthusiasts (1976)
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I hope I am not too late. I wanted to participate in the Rainbow of orientation Day held by @cenricthecerberus Thank you! It is very important to me.

Unfortunately there is not so much lesbian dolls, but all I saw are beautiful! I have a lot of lesbians in my crew. Part of them belongs to my wife @persona-mechanica and she will post them soon =)

One of our lesbian pair is Miyu and Maria (M&M). Miyu is a biosynthetical human from a galaxy far away. She escaped an apocalypse at her own planet and found a opened portal to the other world. Then she came to medieval world where magic and dragons was common things. She thought that she can not love, because her creators stripped her from emotions and programmed her to be mere solider. But in Ceros her program shot down and she could not understand what to do next. Then she met Maria who made her understand that she is alive, and her artificial parts does not make her less human, and her goodness and determination shows that she is more empathetic and merciful than some of the “real” people.

Bioengineers Hope To Make Sorghum and Sugarcane A Sweet Deal For Biofuel

by Michael Keller

We get a jolt of energy after eating food sweetened with sugarcane or sorghum, so why can’t our engines?

Separate research teams in February presented their work on coaxing the two globally important, high-sugar-content crops into becoming better raw materials for biofuel production. Their work was part of the showcase presented at the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.

The first, led by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign plant biologists, say they have successfully introduced genes into sugarcane plants to make them withstand cooler climates and produce more oil that can be turned into biodiesel.

“Our goal is to make sugarcane produce more oil, be more productive with more photosynthesis and be more cold-tolerant,” said Stephen P. Long, a UI plant biology professor and leader of the initiative, in a university statement. “Sugarcane and sorghum are exceptionally productive plants, and if you could make them accumulate oil in their stems instead of sugar, this would give you much more oil per acre.”

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