Wednesday, 21 June 2017

soylent blue

The private bioinformatics company’s that’s responsible for the research that drives several different markets from medicine to agriculture to biofuels latest venture involves harvesting algae as an energy source.
Usually the by-products that humans find useful are rather inimical to the organisms continued existence—fat in this case which the algae produces but only naturally in dire situations and when it’s deprived of essential nutrients. Some gene-editing, however, can induce simulated starvation and cause the algae to produce fat that is efficiently converted into fuel, almost equivalent to a vegetable oil. While earlier iterations of renewable biofuels were fraught with controversy as green-washing and not truly sustainable as it was competing with food-crops, there’s algae in abundance and this particular variety can thrive in polluted and brackish waters and perhaps even cleaning them up a bit in the process. What do you think?  Do developments like these take some of the edge of engineered Nature and ought they?