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Cyanobacteria: Growing a Green Future Around the Clock

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Spencer Diamond and Britt Flaherty, PhD students at UCSD, Spencer in the Susan Golden Laboratory and Britt in the James Golden Laboratory, author a post on Small Things Considered about the green potential for cyanobacteria.

"With such famous bacteria as Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis hogging the stage, it can be hard for bugs like cyanobacteria to enter the limelight. However, without E. coli and B. subtilis we would still be here today; without cyanobacteria (or something with similar capabilities) earth would be an anaerobic world incapable of harvesting the sun's energy. Cyanobacteria infused the atmosphere with oxygen, provided photosynthesis to plants through endosymbiosis, and increased the amount of usable nitrogen by fixing atmospheric N2 into ammonia. Many of these little photosynthetic factories can undertake conflicting metabolic processes within a single cell, such as photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. With the need for renewable sources of energy and industrial products, cyanobacteria present themselves as an excellent self-contained platform for metabolic engineering and subsequent green chemical production."

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