Monday, January 31, 2011

IR Spectroscopy With Superbright Light

Most analytical techniques can provide a snapshot of the average behavior of a group of cells. For example, scientists grind cells and measure levels of gene transcripts to monitor how cellular circuits turn on and off, or they use mass spectrometry to identify natural products in a bacterial colony. But these average snapshots can miss rare cells—those few that behave differently from the rest, according to Hoi-Ying N. Holman, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Details about these cells often fail to rise above the noise of the majority, but studying them could help researchers understand how cells respond differently to changes in their environment. More>

Capturing More Light with a Single Solar Cell

The most efficient solar cells typically have several layers of semiconductor materials, each tuned to convert different colors of light into electricity. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have now made a single semiconductor that performs almost the same job. More importantly, they made the material using a common manufacturing technique, suggesting it could be made relatively inexpensively. More>

Blog Post on Cool Roofs

A typical white roof is made using a highly reflective elastomeric covering. But there are colored roofing shingles that look a lot like the traditional composite shingles that you find everywhere on houses. Only the reflective shingles reduce roof temperatures by 50°F to 60°F in the summer, reducing cooling load and air conditioning bills. Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory helped produce the reflective coatings that allow shingles to be something other than pure white. More>

Visualization Group Report Asks the Tough Questions

The Visualization Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has published a new white paper, titled "Visualization at Supercomputing Centers: The Tale of Little Big Iron and the Three Skinny Guys." This is no fairy tale, however, but an informative report that addresses the way that the distribution of resources at Supercomputing Centers affects scientific discovery. The title refers to the centers' post-processing hardware (Little Iron) and their visualization/analysis staff (Three Skinny Guys). More>

Friday, January 28, 2011

Berkeley non-profit cooks up a solution to violence in Darfur

The war-ravaged region of western Sudan, Darfur, is the reason many people in our area got involved in activism there over the past five years. The Bay Area is home to a number of non-profits working on issues in Darfur, from student activism to charities, to development. There's a lab on the campus of UC BERKELEY that's home to a unique product that's helping thousands of women in Darfur. That product is a stove. Every day, women in Darfur walk miles to gather firewood for cooking, often risking being kidnapped or raped by bandits along the way. So, the engineers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab invented a new kind of wood-burning stove that uses much less wood than regular three-stone fires which the women cook on. This stove would not only make their lives easier, it could possibly save many lives. More>

Future of West Berkeley on the Table

Citing remarks made at Berkeleyside’s Local Business Forum this week by Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, Berkeley’s Mayor Tom Bates commented on the rapidly changing economic framework of the 21st century, where entire business operations can be organized online among a number of participants worldwide. He specifically talked about the need to tap the city’s greatest resources: UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Both institutions are churning out talented and hungry entrepreneurs who are flocking elsewhere to start up businesses. LBNL is also scouting for a second campus site with West Berkeley as an outside contender for its choice. More>

Thursday, January 27, 2011

BEAST Technology Allows Scientists to Study Metal-Surface Hotspots

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created a BEAST - a device that probes into the electromagnetic field created when light strikes metal, entering an area of research previously off-limits to scientists that could increase the efficiency of solar-powered energy devices. Research of the technique, also known as the Brownian Emitter Adsorption Super-resolution Technique, was published in the Jan. 20 issue of the journal Nature. The method has enabled scientists for the first time to measure the electromagnetic field inside a hotspot - an area of metal often only a few nanometers in size where the light's rays cause electrons to oscillate, creating an electromagnetic field. More>

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Council considers dramatic changes in West Berkeley

After three years of discussion, dramatic changes to the West Berkeley plan will be discussed by the City Council tonight. If passed, it would provide space in Berkeley for start-up companies that have traditionally moved to the peninsula, South Bay or San Francisco. It would also give Berkeley a better shot at winning the second campus for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Opponents to the amendments are concerned about changing the area’s low-rise, low-density character, and about rising land values chasing out what manufacturing remains in West Berkeley. More>

Berkeley Lab Scientists at the South Pole Work to Collect Astronomical Data

Roughly 10,000 miles from Berkeley at the South Pole, scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are working on a project that hopes to provide information on large-scale astrophysical events. Scientists with the IceCube project are using digital optical modules - extremely sensitive light detectors - to study events in the universe. By using these "IceCube" detectors, the researchers can record light caused by neutrinos - electrically neutral elementary particles - when they hit the ice surrounding the detector, allowing scientists to learn more about cosmic happenings such as gamma ray bursts and exploding stars. More>

Monday, January 24, 2011

The hunt for neutrinos in the Antarctic

Spencer Klein is holding a thick glass ball the size of a watermelon and it is stuffed with electronics. For 10 minutes or so, he turns it over in his hands and talks through what it does, how it works and the brutal environment it can withstand. This last point turns out to be key. Over the past half-decade, more than 5,000 of these objects have been shipped to the south pole, strung together like beads, and buried deep in the Antarctic ice sheet. Klein is a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that sits high on the hills overlooking the University of California's Berkeley campus and beyond to San Francisco Bay. More>

What consumers need to know about electric car batteries

A variety of electric vehicles will hit the market this year, raising questions about the most critical element of any electric car: the battery. How often do you have to replace the battery? Will it be recycled? Can you charge a battery even if it is not empty? How many charging cycles can the battery handle? Is it true there's a worldwide shortage of lithium? "If I want to buy an electric vehicle, I would want to know how many miles can I drive under REAL driving conditions, how long will my battery last and how long will the battery take to charge," said Venkat Srinivasan, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab who writes a popular battery blog at More>

Friday, January 21, 2011

Introducing the world's tiniest rope

Scientists have braided a rope that is less than a millionth of a meter in diameter, a major step toward self-assembling materials important for nanoscale construction and medicine. Polymers, or long chains of molecules, were coaxed into braiding themselves into wispy nanoscale ropes that approach the structural complexity of biological materials. "This hierarchical self-assembly is the hallmark of biological materials such as collagen, but designing synthetic structures that do this has been a major challenge," said Ron Zuckermann, the facility director of the Biological Nanostructures Facility at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (Berkeley Lab) Molecular Foundry. More>

Power cord for 'vampire' electronics shown

A U.S. company says it has developed a power cord that identifies "vampire electronics" gobbling up electricity in most U.S. homes. Vampire electronics is a term for common household electrical appliances such as microwave ovens, coffeemakers and toasters that continue to consume small amounts of electricity even when they're not "on." The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates these electronic devices consume 5 percent to 10 percent of all electricity used in U.S. households, CNN reported Friday. More>

A story on this topic also appeared on CNN.

Regents Back Plans for New LBNL Solar Energy Center

Development of a new solar research center located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory advanced Tuesday, as the UC Board of Regents' Committee on Grounds and Buildings approved financial and design proposals at the regents' meeting at UC San Diego. According to its proposal, the Solar Energy Research Center will consist of a three-story laboratory and office building with 21,471 assignable square feet to support solar energy research, such as using synthetic materials to produce transportation fuel. The project is consistent with the revised plan approved by the regents in September 2009. Original plans for the project were submitted to the regents in November 2006. More>

Thursday, January 20, 2011

U.S. – China Cooperation on Climate Change, Clean Energy, and the Environment

President Obama and President Hu agreed to enhanced cooperation on climate change, clean energy, and the environment. The leaders welcomed the announcement of joint work plans under the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC), which was launched by Presidents Obama and Hu in November 2009. The work plans cover energy efficient buildings, clean coal, and clean vehicles, and the U.S. research consortia for the three respective areas are led by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, West Virginia University, and the University of Michigan. More>

Metallic Glass Stronger Than Steel

Glass has a lot going for it: it's easy to clean and you can see straight through it. The only problem is that it's fragile and brittle, and that means it breaks easily. That's why researchers have created a new type of glass that is stronger and tougher than steel. In fact, this new type of damage-tolerant glass has actually demonstrated a durability greater than any known material. The new metallic glass is a microalloy that features palladium, a metal with a high "bulk-to-shear" stiffness ratio that counteracts the intrinsic brittleness of glassy materials. Those findings come from experiments conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology. More>

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Alameda Considers Bidding for New Lawrence Berkeley Campus

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is looking for a new home for scientists who now work at four satellite labs scattered across the East Bay. And city leaders are hoping they can bring that new campus to Alameda Point. City staffers are assembling a bid for the campus, and they’ll be offering a potential site location to the City Council for their consideration on Feb. 2. The bids are due by March 4, and the University at California, which operates the lab, plans to have a short list of preferred sites in April. More>

'Green asphalt' layers cool surface on school lot

The idea of using reflective materials to lower temperatures locally and as a tool against global warming is gaining ground. Last month, the Department of Energy installed a "cool roof" on one of its buildings, a white-colored coating that replaced a roof in need of replacing. A cooler roof can mean a 10 percent to 15 percent reduction in the cooling load, DOE under secretary Cathy Zoi said in a blog. In aggregate, cool roofs (PDF) can make a significant difference on energy use and act as a way to reflect heat back into space, according to researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They estimated that if just over three quarters of commercial buildings were covered with cool roofs, the reduction in air conditioning load would be the equivalent of taking a millions cars off the road, or 6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, Zoi said. Lawrence Berkeley now is working with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and he California Energy Commission on the Cool Colors Project to research and develop cool-colored roofing materials. Emerald Cities' Roese said she was inspired by the cool roofs' work at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs to make a reflective material for pavements. More>

Science Palladium makes glass stronger and tougher than steel

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology have developed a new type of metallic glass that's stronger and tougher than steel. The new metallic glass is a microalloy featuring phosphorous, silicon, germanium, silver and, the secret ingredient, a rare, silvery-white metal called palladium. Palladium has a high "bulk-to-shear" stiffness ratio, which means the energy needed to form shear bands -- narrow strain zones that ultimately become cracks -- is much lower than the energy required to turn these shear bands into cracks. It gives the flexible material more plasticity, so an impact will cause the new material to bend, unlike brittle glass, which instantly shatters. More>

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Synthetic Biology Makes Scary Headlines, but Universities Promote It as a Lifesaver

But there is a far more compelling story about how this field, known as synthetic biology, is taking shape, largely on university campuses. It is not primarily about making new life forms. It is, rather, a major tactical upgrade in the long-running search for better medicines, fuels, and renewable materials. So over the past several years, a team led by Berkeley Lab's Jay D. Keasling, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, has been taking the necessary genes from the wormwood, implanting them into a strain of E. coli bacteria, and growing large quantities of artemisinin. "This has the potential for revolutionizing the treatment of a very deadly and prevalent disease," said the head of President Obama's bioethics commission, Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania. More>
The small, orange-colored home was built in the backyard of Karen Chapple, a University of California, Berkeley, associate professor of city and regional planning and faculty director of the Center for Community Innovation. She is heading a study funded by the UC Transportation Center to determine how many of these accessory homes could be built around five Bay Area Rapid Transit stations in the East Bay, and how they might affect the local economy. A grant from the Haas School’s Sustainable Products and Solutions Program provided seed capital, and Casey recruited a team of students from city and regional planning, civil engineering, and the Haas School who were taking a sustainable design class taught by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Ashok Gadgil, to develop the business model. More>

Goodbye to the Bevatron

For the last 18 years, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, up in the Berkeley hills, has had the physics equivalent of a rusty pickup truck parked in its front yard. The Bevatron is a 1950's-era atom smasher that was decommissioned in 1993. Now, the Bevatron is being demolished – by the end of this year, it will be gone. And with it, a chapter in the Bay Area’s history of high level physics research, as Amy Standen reports. More>

QUEST on KQED Public Media.

Albert Ghiorso dies at 95; engineer played crucial role in discovery of 12 elements

Albert Ghiorso, a Berkeley engineer who played a crucial role in the discovery of 12 elements, more than any other scientist, died Dec. 26 at his home near the UC Berkeley campus. He was 95 and died of heart failure after a minor fall near his home. A talented engineer, Ghiorso designed many of the accelerators and detectors that made it possible to produce and identify the heavy, short-lived radioactive elements beyond uranium, the heaviest found in nature. Ghiorso initially worked under physicist Glenn Seaborg on World War II's Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb, then at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. But eventually he came to be seen as Seaborg's equal in many ways. More>

Astronomers release the largest color image of the sky ever made

Today, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III (SDSS-III) is releasing the largest digital color image of the sky ever made, and it’s free to all. The image has been put together over the last decade from millions of 2.8-megapixel images, thus creating a color image of more than a trillion pixels. This terapixel image is so big and detailed that one would need 500,000 high-definition TVs to view it at its full resolution. "We have upgraded the existing SDSS instruments, and we are using them to measure distances to over a million galaxies detected in this image," explains David Schlegel, an astronomer from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Principal Investigator of the new SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). More>

Bay Area Solar Companies Become More Popular, As Costs Drop

Earlier this week came word that Southern California Edison would be buying electricity from seven solar power plants that will be built by two Bay Area companies. This is becoming a trend now that the technology is more affordable. It’s a change that has come about in the last five to seven years. “Many solar plants that were built previously were using a technology called solar-thermal, where sunlight is concentrated down to heat and water, and then basically makes a steam turbine,” said Paul Alivisatos, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He said that in the new solar power plants, photovoltaic technology will be used. “That is where the sunlight is used to create a current inside a semi-conductor,” said Alivisatos. “It’s really a more advanced technology in some ways.” More>

Dirty Work

Terry Hazen laughs when he is asked whether he’s ever surprised by the microbes he has studied for 30 years. “I’m not,” he says. “I’m a firm believer in the doctrine of infallibility. What that means is there’s no compound known to man, man-made or natural, that bacteria can’t degrade.” Hazen — an environmental microbiologist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley— finds and feeds microbes that degrade pollutants into harmless elements, helping clean up some of the most polluted sites on the planet. The microbes, or “bugs,” as Hazen calls them, are everywhere — in the soil, the air and the oceans, where they naturally break down everything from methane to oil to the toxic byproducts of weapons-grade plutonium. More>

Friday, January 14, 2011

In Highlighting Radon's Risks, Context Needed

In case you haven't heard, it's National Radon Action Month. Every January, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies hit the airwaves to tell us that radon gas can kill and that every home should be tested. But that message skips over many complexities surrounding the risks from radon. Radon is a heavy, radioactive gas that can seep out of the soil into basements and other parts of a house. There's no question that inhaling a lot of radon is bad for you, but some scientists think such statements could use a little context. Phil Price, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, has spent a lot of time studying radon. He is willing to accept the government's rough estimate that radon causes about 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. But, he says, people should know something about that number. More>

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It Looks a Lot Like Glass, but It's Tough as Steel

The moment a crack forms in a piece of glass, it is prone to spread. That’s because although glass is very strong and resistant to deformation, it lacks the toughness that metals like aluminum and steel have. Now, researchers from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, report that they have devised a new type of metallic glass that is as strong as glass, but as tough as steel — the toughest of all metals. More>

New Metallic Glass Beats Steel as the Toughest, Stongest Material Yet

Materials scientists in California have made a special metallic glass with a strength and toughness greater than any known material, using a recipe that could yield a new method for materials fabrication. The glass, a microalloy made of palladium, has a chemical structure that counteracts the inherent brittleness of glass but maintains its strength. It’s not very dense and it is more lightweight than steel, with comparable heft to an aluminum or titanium alloy. “It has probably the best combination of strength and toughness that has ever been achieved,” said Robert O. Ritchie, a materials scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who is one of the authors of a paper describing the new glass. “It’s not the strongest material ever made, but it’s certainly one of the best with a combination of strength and toughness.” More>

Taking the Risk Out of Energy Efficiency

In December BAE, which has its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, announced a $2 million project to upgrade heating and cooling equipment, pumps, and motors and control systems at its facility in Greenlawn, New York. The company won't be paying that price for the upgrades, however. Instead, it will pay project developer Metrus Energy an amount based on how much it saves on energy use. The project, set for completion in 2011, reflects a growing market for energy efficiency projects in which payment is tied to the amount of energy saved over time. This approach has been common for about two decades in public facilities such as government buildings, academic institutions, and hospitals, says Peter Larsen, a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which has tracked the energy service market for over 15 years and amassed a database of about 3,500 projects. More>

Bionanoelectronics — No Frankenstein

Bionanoelectronics is, as the name suggests, the study of the interface of biology and man-made nanocomponents. The ultimate aim of many researchers in this field is to combine biological machines with man-made ones to give superior functionality, or to go one step further still and produce a seamless interface between biological and synthetic systems. This may sound like the stuff of science fiction, and indeed it is a subject that has been intensively discussed in fiction from an early date - exemplified by the uncontrollable Frankenstein’s monster- but the field is now progressing toward a controllable reality. A recent review article by Alexandr Noy of University of California, Merced, USA, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA provides a clear overview of bionanoelectronics progess to date, along with the upcoming challenges for scientists working in this area. More>

Friday, January 7, 2011

What's In a Stove?

Her stove—known as the Berkeley-Darfur Stove—is the brainchild of the Darfur Stoves Project (DSP), a US-based Oxfam partner organization that draws on the work of engineers at the Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory in California. DSP worked with women in Darfur to develop a stove suited to their needs that would use less than half the fuel of a traditional three-stone fireplace and significantly less than other stove models that are available locally. The result is a portable 12-sided metal stove - around 12” in every dimension - that is as advanced in its design as it is simple in its construction. And whose frugal output is a match for the scarce resources of the Darfur camps. More>

Albert Ghiorso, Berkeley nuclear scientist, dies

Albert Ghiorso, a renowned nuclear scientist who co-discovered a dozen chemical elements heavier than uranium, died Dec. 26 at his home. The Berkeley resident was 95. In a fledgling "radiation lab" (which later became Berkeley Lab) on the UC Berkeley campus just before World War II, physicists led by Edwin McMillan and Glenn Seaborg produced the first known chemical elements heavier than uranium - to be known as neptunium and plutonium. More>

Sensing the Future of Greener Data Centers

A 2007 Congressional report estimated that, in 2006 alone, data centers consumed about 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity combined. That’s 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption for a tab of $4.5 billion and growing. The problem is worrying enough that the U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded $47 million in grants for data center efficiency research. Cost and carbon footprint are critical concerns, but they aren’t the only issues at play, says Kathy Yelick, associate laboratory director for the computing sciences directorate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Performance is suffering, too. “The heat, even at the chip level, is limiting processor performance,” says Yelick. “So, even from the innards of a computer system, we are worried about energy efficiency and getting the most computing with the least energy.” More>

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bacteria devoured methane gas from gulf oil spill, scientists say

Kessler and his colleagues now report in Science that a huge swarm of gas-gobbling bacteria swelled to consume nearly all of the estimated 200,000 tons of methane dumped into the gulf. Terry Hazen, a microbial ecologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, says he is "not surprised at all" by the voracious appetite of the microbes. Hazen spent four months on the gulf studying the giant plumes of oil and gas that initially spread from the well. "We have basically the same data," he says. In August, Hazen reported that bacteria - including several new-to-science species - were quickly reducing the giant plumes of oil. "The good news is that methanotropes will probably help to deep clean" the gulf by continuing to degrade residual oil and gas, Hazen says. More>

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Second site for Berkeley lab sought

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Berkeley hills is asking developers to submit proposals for a 2 million square foot second campus within a 20-minute drive that will house some 800 scientists and employees. The lab currently houses those 800 employees, or 20 percent of its workforce, outside the main campus in a smattering of leased sites around the Bay Area in Emeryville, Walnut Creek, Oakland and west Berkeley at a cost that will rise to about $15 million a year in 2015, lab officials said Tuesday. Proposals from interested developers and cities are due in early March and the lab hopes to have a list by April, said lab spokesman Jeff Miller. The lab also hopes to pick a new site by June, with a move in date of sometime in 2015. More>

Monday, January 3, 2011

Genome 'census' reveals hidden riches

A sweeping study of fruitfly and nematode genomes has uncovered thousands of new genes, providing a better understanding of how the complex genetic networks needed to guide an animal through development are generated. Altogether, the modENCODE team has uncovered 100,000 new elements in the fruitfly genome that serve as a template for RNA molecules, says Susan Celniker, a geneticist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in Berkeley, California, and a leader of one of the ten modENCODE teams. Among these new features are 1,938 previously unrecognized genes. More>

Berkeley lab searching for new campus

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will begin its search for a second campus after the first of the year, and East Bay cities are already jockeying for position. The lab currently occupies 1.8 million square feet on 200 acres at 1 Cyclotron Road, nestled in the hills of Berkeley’s Grizzly Peak. The lab extension could bring hundreds of jobs and nurture startups. In mid-December, the lab had planned to release a Request for Qualifications for bidding on building the lab. More>

Behavior Frontiers: Can Social Science Combat Climate Change?

Roughly 44 percent of Californians smoked tobacco in 1965. By 2010, 9.3 percent did—a shift that might have seemed impossible before it happened. Understanding exactly how such a social transformation occurred in the past may prove key to understanding how individuals might alter their behavior to help combat climate change in the future. By studying past instances of social transformation, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) hope to predict future change in response to global warming as part of California’s Carbon Challenge—a study commissioned by the California Energy Commission to help the state cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels. LBNL energy technology scientist Jeffery Greenblatt and his colleagues are analyzing technology options as well as data records from 10 historical behavior changes—smoking cessation, seat belt use, vegetarianism, drunk driving, recycling and yoga, among others. More>

Solar Plant to Generate Power After Sundown

Something new is headed for the Southwest desert: solar power plants that can make electricity whether or not the sun is shining. Abengoa Solar Inc. expects to start construction in mid-2011 on a plant in Arizona that will store sun-generated heat to provide six extra hours a day of electric-generating capacity. The heat creates steam that is used to turn power turbines. When it comes to renewable energy, solar competes most heavily against wind power. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., in February 2010 found that utility-scale solar plants with storage capacity were three times as costly to build as wind farms without energy storage. More>

BP Brews Up an Ethanol Breakthrough with Engineered Yeast

The researchers, supported by the BP-funded Energy Biosciences Institute, claim the yeast can process glucose, a common type of sugar, along with xylose, which is a wood sugar that yeasts typically process far more slowly, if at all. Researchers at the University of Illinois, in conjunction with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Seoul National University, and the University of California, have engineered a yeast strain that can process two types of sugar at once. The few yeasts that can process xylose do so only after processing the glucose found in a material. This serial processing of sugars is one of the factors leading to the relatively slow processing of cellulosic materials such as woody biomass and other organic waste materials. More>