Promotive Communications

Lab AugSept_2018

Laboratory Focus is Canada's leading editorial-based lab publication. Providing readers with the latest technology updates through application and tech notes, as well as covering new products and trends in laboratories across Canada.

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R&D News ................. 1 Appointments ............ 6 New Products .......... 16 App Reviews ............. 18 P h a r m a c e u t i c a l c l i n i c a l c h e m i c a l f o o d e n v i r o n m e n t w w w . l a b o r a t o r y f o c u s . c a august/sePtember 2018 volume 22, number 3 Publications Mail Registration Number: 40052410 ubc researcher creates 'living' solar cells to convert light into energy Plantform collaborates to manufacture biosimilar to the south african market advanced bioanalytical technologies accelerate drug development in the new age of Protein therapeutics Page 9 technology for corn ethanol measurement validated using doe Page 13 continued on page 3 Guelph-based PlantForm Cor- poration of Canada is stretching across the ocean to collaborate with South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and BGM Pharmaceuticals to produce a biosimilar of trastu- zumab using PlantForm's vivoX- PRESS® manufacturing system. This agreement will permit the CSIR to produce a biosimilar mono- clonal antibody (trastuzumab) using the tobacco plant-based vivoX- PRESS® expression technology on a laboratory scale. The CSIR will demonstrate the utility of Plant- Form's proprietary technology to biogenic solar cells have focused on extracting the natural dye that bacteria use for photosynthesis. It's a costly and complex process that involves toxic solvents and can cause the dye to degrade. Yadav's solution was to leave the dye in the bacteria. They genetically engineered E. coli to produce large amounts of lycopene—a dye that because they are made of living organisms—could become as ef- ficient as the synthetic cells used in conventional solar panels. "Our solution to a uniquely B.C. problem is a significant step toward making solar energy more eco- nomical," says Vikramaditya Yadav, a professor in UBC's department of chemical and biological engineering who led the project. Solar cells are the building blocks of solar panels. They do the work of converting light into electrical current. Previous efforts to build Overcast skies have posed problems for gathering solar energy in places like British Columbia that frequently have clouds on the radar, so research- ers from the University of British Columbia took a stab at making a cheap and sustainable way to build solar cells using bacteria to convert light into energy. These cells generated a cur- rent stronger than any previously recorded from such a device and worked just as efficiently in dim lighting. With further development, these solar cells—called "biogenic" gives tomatoes their red-orange colour and is particularly effective at harvesting light for conversion to energy. The researchers coated the bacteria with a mineral that could act as a semiconductor, and ap- plied the mixture to a glass surface. With the coated glass acting as an anode at one end of their cell, they generated a current den- sity of 0.686 milliamps per square centimetre—an improvement on the 0.362 achieved by others in the field. "We recorded the highest cur- rent density for a biogenic solar cell," says Yadav. "These hybrid materials that we are developing can be manufactured economi- cally and sustainably, and with sufficient optimization, could per- form at comparable efficiencies as conventional solar cells." The expenditure and cost sav- ings are difficult to estimate ac- cording to Yadav, but he predicts the process will reduce the cost of dye production to one-tenth compared to the usual. To see this story online visit https://laboratoryfocus.ca/ubc- researcher-creates-living-solar- cells-to-convert-light-into-energy/ ,

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