Environmental and Health Benefits of Novel Autotrophic Probiotics

Environmental and Health Benefits of Novel Autotrophic Probiotics

One class of biomolecules, the short chained fatty acids or SCFA may be able to reduce ruminant methane emissions and improve human health.  The SCFA of interest include propionate, butyrate, and valerate.  Fermentation is thought to be the only way to generate these SCFA and others like formate and acetate.  Acetogens are known to generate acetate from fermentation and reduction of carbon dioxide.   However, autotrophic bacteria may be capable of generating SCFA with more than two carbon atoms.  Let’s learn more about the environmental and health benefits of three novel autotrophic probiotics that generate these SCFA.

Novel Autotrophic Probiotics

Thermodynamic analysis revealed three novel autotrophic bacteria capable of generating the SCFA of interest.  The figure below provides details about the propiogen, butyrogen, and valerogen.  Each of these autotrophs uses available hydrogen and CO2 to methylate a SCFA into a longer chained SCFA.  Knowledgeable microbiologists recognize the reaction for the propiogen as the opposite of the reaction used by syntrophic bacteria in anaerobic digesters.

Novel Autotrophic Probiotics
Novel Autotrophic Probiotics that generate short chained fatty acids (SCFA)

SCFA Methylating Bioreactors

A simple bioreactor system cultivates these novel autotrophic probiotics by adding the reactant SCFA and proper nutrients while maintaining environmental conditions that promote growth.  Downstream processing of the biomass remains a challenge, but microencapsulating methods that maintain strict anaerobic conditions may be possible.  The SCFA could also be processed and sold as a green product.  Next, two markets for these novel autotrophic microbes will be discussed.

Ruminant Methane Emission Reduction

The reduction of ruminant methane emissions has garnered the attention of leading scientists, regulators, and agriculture as a way to reduce the risk of global warming.  Unlike the energy markets, the reduction of ruminant methane emissions does not have a monetary reward at this time.  However, demonstrated technologies or approaches to reducing ruminant methane emissions may be treated in a similar way as the RIN credit approach for bioenergy.

Reduce Methanogens to Reduce Ruminant Methane Emissions

The most popular approach towards reducing ruminant methane emissions is the reduction of methanogens in the rumen.  This approach has the added benefit of improving feed efficiency lost to methane productionInhibitors of methanogens have drawn a lot of attention.  Novel autotrophic probiotics would also reduce methanogen levels in the rumen, since they compete with the methanogens for available hydrogen.  Additional acid formation would not result, since these novel autotrophic probiotic only increase the carbon chain of existing SCFA in the rumen.  For the ruminants, the preferred autotrophic probiotic is the propiogen, since propionate is the SCFA directly used by the animal.

Improved Human Health

Interest in the modulation of the human microbiome through diet and probiotics is growing.  The increase in the SCFA in the gut may improve human health.  Increasing the level of propionate lowers lipogenesis, serum cholesterol levels, and carcinogenesis in other tissues.  Likewise, butyrate has benefits that include inflammation reduction, relief of gastrointestinal conditions, reduction of colon cancer risk, increase insulin sensitivity, brain protection, treatment of cardiovascular disease, and sleep quality improvement.  Recently, valerate has attracted attention for it’s anticancer potential and more.

Combination of Novel Autotrophic Probiotics

A probiotic that combines propiogens, butyrogens, and valerogens increases the level of all three SCFA for improved human health.  This probiotic could also be of interest in the pet health industry.

Commercialization Pathway for Novel Autotrophic Probiotics

If there’s interest in this approach to generating autotrophic probiotics for humans and animals, then follow the three step plan for commercialization.

Isolate and Characterize Novel Autotrophic Probiotics

This Autotrophic Probiotic commercialization plan requires one or more novel autotrophic probiotics: Propiogen, Butyrogen, and Valerogen.  Thermodynamic analysis predicts these autotrophic probiotics and other novel autotrophic microbes.  The combination of a proper anaerobic, autotrophic microbiology laboratory and a skilled microbiologist should suffice.  The laboratory will require gas chromatography for gas characterization.  Growth rate information for isolates will be necessary for bioreactor design.  I’m available to assist in this effort.

Demonstrate Environmental and Health Benefits of Autotrophic Probiotics

With the autotrophic probiotics properly characterized, design a simple bioreactor system for a simple demonstration using CO2, H2, and Acetate.  A successful demonstration provides a good estimate of the potential profitability of the bioreactor system for autotrophic probiotic production.

Secure License for Patents

License the patents for cultivating novel autotrophic probiotics from the University of South Florida (USF).  Send me an email for USF contact information.

More Information Available

I provided a video that describes multiple business opportunities that could impact Agriculture, Environmental Remediation, Water and Wastewater Treatment, Metals Recovery, BioEnergy, and Health markets.

Send Me Your Questions About Novel Autotrophic Probiotics

Send me your questions about the environmental and health benefits of novel autotrophic probiotics to pete@glixin.com.


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