A multidisciplinary team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is the first to demonstrate imaging of a biofilm's chemical components as they form in hydrated biological samples, rather than from frozen or dried samples. They used a surface technique called time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry to study complex microbiological processes, such as chemical attachment of microbes to surfaces to form biofilms. The work used PNNL's vacuum-compatible liquid probe.
PNNL scientist Justin Teeguarden and former PNNL scientist Harish Shankaran received the Best Abstract Award for 2014 from the Risk Assessment Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology. Teeguarden will present "Improving Urine-Based Human Exposure Assessment of Short-Lived Chemicals Using Reverse Dosimetry and NHANES Physiological and Behavior Data: A Value-of-Information Approach for Bisphenol A" at the Society's annual meeting in March.
Teeguarden leads research related to chemical risk assessment and health effects, most notably that related to the use of Bisphenol A in plastics, and has served on national advisory panels for the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences.
Graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms, potentially has the highest surface area among the carbon material and thus has the potential to significantly improve supercapacitors for energy storage and delivery. Yet, it is difficult to understand and control how the charged ionic species are incorporated and transported in the graphene electrodes. Scientists at PNNL and Princeton University found that surface defects alter the liquid's interaction with the graphene surface. The study provides a basic understanding to create better materials for energy storage.
Scientists at PNNL have published new findings about how a remarkably fast-growing organism conducts its metabolic business bolster scientists' ability to create biofuels using the hardy microbe Synechococcus, which turns sunlight into useful energy. The team glimpsed key chemical events, known as redox reactions, inside living cells of the organism by using a chemical probe they developed that allows live-cell labeling. They also developed an in vivo labeling and imaging strategy to identify proteins undergoing these reactions in the photoautotrophic cyanobacterium. Their work, featured on the cover of ACS Chemical Biology, marks the first time that redox activity, a very fast regulatory network involved in all major aspects of a cell's operation, has been observed in specific proteins within living cells.
A study recently published by a team from the University of Massachusetts, the Joint BioEnergy Center, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory reveals key insights about Enterobacter lignolyticus SCF1, including that it is the first soil bacterium to demonstrate the dual ability to degrade the plant material lignin both as a food source and for breathing. This work moves scientists one step farther toward using lignocellulose, a renewable and abundant energy source, to make lignocellulosic biofuels sustainable and economically feasible.