Landfills, a way of safely disposing waste, are now considered to be breeding grounds for novel, never before identified microorganisms. Biologists at the University of Waterloo believe these microorganisms have special metabolic abilities that can be harnessed to recycle plant waste.
The decline in reserves, rising cost of fossil fuel extraction and export, and the environmental impacts of their continued use are making alternative fuel more appealing. The push now is to be able to convert cellulose-containing waste into biofuels.
Waterloo researchers are trying to modify enzymes from heat-loving microbes to improve the efficiency of converting cellulose-containing biological waste into biofuel.
Wetlands in North America are home to a very diverse set of native plants. But an invasive reed called common reed (Phragmites australis) has been expanding rapidly and could potentially threaten the ecosystem processes in the wetlands it inhabits.
Chronic early life social isolation is linked with negative psychological and social outcomes in adulthood. Waterloo researchers have discovered social isolation changes unusual protein expression in the adult brain of rodents who socially isolated. Examining how stress affects the brain on a molecular level can help researchers get insight into disorders like schizophrenia and depression.
Missing a single protein can have lethal consequences for plants. Cuticles are the waxy wall that protects plants from sunlight, pesticides, and dehydration. But damage to the cuticle, like when the Hothead protein is missing, causes the wall to fall down.