Using modeling to study microorganisms paves the road to obtaining more flexible, efficient chemical products, a Universidade de Santiago de Compostela study finds. Not only a promising breakthrough, but it is also the first-ever published paper within the framework of project CONSERVAL. As a result, a series of guidelines have been set in place in order to transform organic waste into products of the most interest for the industry, such as lactic acid.
Project CONSERVAL uses microorganisms to convert and add value to waste and by-products from the canning industry. This is made possible due to the way these living beings thrive, that is, by extracting energy through substrate transformation. Researchers Alberte Regueira, Juan Manuel Lema, and Miguel Mauricio, from Biogroup, have already translated that behavior into a mathematical expression, giving birth to a resource-assigning metabolic model.
Therefore, the paper ‘Microbial inefficient substrate use through the perspective of resource allocation models‘ deeps in the production of carboxylic acids from waste and organic-carbon rich waters, as they are found in the canning industry life cycle. Behavior models are based on the principle that, just like in human endeavors, microorganisms have limited resources, and also limited reactions to choose from.
If they were to widen the variety of the reactions, microscopic beings ought to produce new enzymes, and energy cost measures, and often a bad trade-off. Such inefficient behaviors are now included in these modelings, showing new paths to the recovery of organic waste. The study points out the production of lactic acid, an intermediate chemical product with a great span of industrial uses.