An interdisciplinary Kansas State University research group is turning garbage into gourmet food.

The researchers are taking used coffee grounds from a campus coffee shop and using them as compost to cultivate gourmet mushrooms at the K-State Student Farm. By composting alone, 50 pounds a week — or about 30 percent of the coffee shop's total waste — has been diverted from landfills.

Natalie Mladenov, assistant professor of civil engineering, and Rhonda Janke, associate professor of horticulture, forestry and recreation resources, are the faculty leaders of the project, which also involves students in civil engineering, plant pathology, agronomy, geography, and park management and conservation.

"The goal of the project is to demonstrate our potential at Kansas State University to initiate a successful closed-loop recycling and composting program that diverts waste from landfills and produce a beneficial product," Mladenov said.

While developing the compost program, the researchers made an important discovery: coffee grounds are a great compost for cultivating mushrooms, particularly gourmet mushrooms, such as oyster, shiitake and reishi.

New research led by the University of Exeter suggests that rising global temperatures will increase the quantity of the key greenhouse gas methane emitted from freshwater ecosystems to Earth's atmosphere -- which could in turn lead to further warming. The collaborative study, led by Dr Gabriel Yvon-Durocher from the University of Exeter, collated data from hundreds of laboratory experiments and field surveys to demonstrate that the speed at which methane fluxes increase with temperature was the same whether single species populations of methanogens, microbial communities or whole ecosystems were analyzed.

Yeast biosensors have become suitable tools for the screening and detection of environmental pollutants because of their various advantages compared to other sensing technologies. On the other hand, many limitations remain with regard to their optimal performance and applicability in several contexts, such as low-concentration samples and on-site testing. This review summarizes the current state of yeast biosensors, with special focus on screening and assessment of environmental contaminants, discusses both pros and cons, and suggests steps towards their further development and effective use in the environmental assessment.

By harnessing the oxidative power of microorganisms, energy can be recovered from reservoirs of less-concentrated organic matter, such as marine sediment, wastewater, and waste biomass. Left unmanaged, these reservoirs can become eutrophic dead zones and sites of greenhouse gas generation.

Here, we introduce a unique means of energy recovery from these reservoirs—a microbial battery (MB) consisting of an anode colonized by microorganisms and a reoxidizable solid-state cathode. The MB has a single-chamber configuration and does not contain ion-exchange membranes. Bench-scale MB prototypes were constructed from commercially available materials using glucose or domestic wastewater as electron donor and silver oxide as a coupled solid-state oxidant electrode. The MB achieved an efficiency of electrical energy conversion of 49% based on the combustion enthalpy of the organic matter consumed or 44% based on the organic matter added. Electrochemical reoxidation of the solid-state electrode decreased net efficiency to about 30%. This net efficiency of energy recovery (unoptimized) is comparable to methane fermentation with combined heat and power.

La stratégie classique de production d'éthanol à partir de biomasse végétale nécessite un prétraitement coûteux et entraîne des réactions enzymatiques. Affinage une autre stratégie connue sous le nom bioprocédés consolidé (consolidated bioprocessing (CPB)) pourrait réduire les coûts. Dans CPB deuxième génération, un micro-organisme fermente les produits à l'éthanol, en réduisant le coût. Maintenant, les chercheurs ont conçus une souche d'une bactérie appelée bescii Caldicellulosiruptor qui décompose la biomasse sans prétraitement.