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Developments in Russian Biotechnology
March 9, 2006 17:14

Scientists at the Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a method to solve the problem of accumulation of methane in mines that causes explosions. They used metanotrophic bacterium that consumes methane as a source of carbon and energy. Bacteria absorb carbon from methane at temperatures between 5 and 370 degrees Celsius. The consumption of methane by bacteria reduces its concentration in the atmosphere of the mines by 30-70 percent.

State scientific centre for genetic engineering has developed a biocatalyst, special microorganisms that help to produce flocculants, ferments used for purifying water.

Biotechnology helps to make acryl colours at low temperatures. Earlier, this was done at 105 degrees Celsius under high pressure using heavy metals. Now acryl cells are being added to a vessel that contains water mixed with acryl nitrils. The solution has to be mixed up at room temperature and pressure for four hours to get absolutely pure product at the end.

Biotechnology is actively used in medicine. A project is aimed at making a polymer with the help of microbes that grow in glucose. Microbes synthesize polymer inside them, and it can be easily removed from them as plastic. This polymer is more expensive than ordinary plastic but compatible with the human body. It can be used to make artificial limbs. For one, metallic pins are used to fix broken bones. But when bones are joined there is need to do another surgery to remove the pins. The pins made out of this polymer dissolve in the body after 3-4 months. The new material is also used in plastic surgeries.

Tags: Russian Academy of Sciences     

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