Pressure BioSciences collaborates with LBNL to analyze microbe for oil spill clean-up

Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:PBIO) ("PBI" and "the Company") today announced a collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ("LBNL"). Scientists at LBNL are using the Company's pressure cycling technology ("PCT") platform in studies aimed at improving the analysis of microorganisms in environments with low biomass, such as oil reservoirs or deep sea oil plumes from oil spills. It is possible that improved microbe analysis may lead to better strategies for oil spill clean-up. LBNL's successful use of the Company's PCT-based products over the past few months has led to this collaboration.

Since 1967, there have been nearly 50 major oil spills in 19 countries, many of which were designated as "environmental disasters". The effects of an oil spill – no matter the size – can be devastating on both marine and coastal life. Consequently, rapid and effective clean-up, based in part on a thorough understanding of the biological changes, effects, and consequences of an oil spill, is essential to help minimize both short and long-term damage.

Dr. Janet Jansson, Senior Staff Scientist in the Earth Sciences Division of LBNL, said: "The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has resulted in an enormous environmental catastrophe, necessitating an unprecedented clean-up effort. Multiple strategies have been used – including chemical dispersants, skimming, booms, and controlled burns. However, one of the most promising – and environmentally safest – strategies is to rely on natural microorganisms to degrade the oil before it can accumulate."

Dr. Jansson continued: "A team of scientists from LBNL has launched a major effort to collect samples from Gulf waters near the oil spill, to monitor the microbial degradation process and the potential for natural microbial clean-up of the oil. Due to the low number of microorganisms in these samples, LBNL scientists need to use the best, most sensitive sample preparation methods to analyze these important but challenging samples. To that end, we have chosen to use Pressure BioSciences' PCT-based products in this project, because they result in greater nucleic acid and protein yields from low concentrations of microorganisms, as compared to other methods."

Dr. Olivia Mason, a post-doctoral researcher in Dr. Jansson's laboratory, commented: "In an effort to develop technologies that utilize indigenous microorganisms in enhancing oil recovery, we are using a systems biology approach to characterize the microbial communities associated with oil reservoirs. Similarly, we are attempting to characterize the microbial communities in a deep-sea oil plume, to determine their role in bioremediation, and to use this knowledge to develop effective strategies for future oil spill clean-ups. Such analysis requires the use of cutting-edge methods that allow for unprecedented insights into microorganisms that exist in very low concentrations in such environments. PBI's PCT-based products have been shown to significantly increase the yield of DNA and to extract a greater microbial diversity from such samples. Thus, they have become a sample preparation method of choice for our laboratory."  

Dr. Nate Lawrence, Vice President of Marketing for PBI, said: "We are installing three additional NEP3229 PCT Sample Preparation Systems at LBNL under an initial, six-month reagent rental program, to be used alongside of their recently purchased NEP3229 PCT System. We will also support our colleagues at LBNL with advice based on our extensive experience in high pressure engineering and biology. The work they are doing is extremely important, and we are pleased and honored to be part of their program."

Dr. Lawrence concluded: "This collaboration is the result of a high quality PBI customer expanding the use of our PCT-based product line in a new and important area. We believe that there are many of other laboratories performing similar work to LBNL. Since oil spills will continue to occur, it is important for these labs to develop new, environmentally-sound, microorganism-based clean-up strategies. The credibility provided by our LBNL relationship and the PCT-based applications they have already shown are possible, is expected to provide additional sales opportunities in the near future."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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