Succinic Acid Creates a New Renewable Resource
In this video, Dr. Mark Wilkins and his team explain their research and the importance of Succinic Acid and how it can create a renewable future. It is important because agriculture is becoming to be the guardian of the future and we need to rely on it to create power, food, and energy for the future of society. CASNR's Agricultural Environmental Communications and Sciences course, Videography, take up different course projects that the Nebraska Corn Board sponsors. This project covers the importance of harnessing the power of corn and the main ingredient, succinic acid and its role in creating better sustainability in the agricultural world.
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[00:00:01.604](upbeat techno music)
[00:00:16.500]My name is Rajib Saha,
[00:00:18.770]I'm an assistant professor from the Department
[00:00:21.450]of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
[00:00:23.090]here at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:00:25.330]I'm Doctor Mark Wilkins.
[00:00:26.980]I'm a professor in Biological Systems Engineering
[00:00:29.770]and in Food Science and Technology.
[00:00:32.310]And then I also am the director
[00:00:34.120]of the Industrial Agricultural Products Center.
[00:00:37.440]Our project is to seek
[00:00:39.440]to produce succinic acid which is
[00:00:43.830]not only a food ingredient but it also can be
[00:00:47.350]used in plastics manufacturing
[00:00:49.740]and then other uses as well.
[00:00:51.470]We're trying to make that from corn fibers
[00:00:53.590]so, you know, a corn kernel mostly consists of starch.
[00:00:58.710]Also has some protein and oil
[00:01:01.690]but it also has fiber and right now the fiber
[00:01:04.540]is essentially fed to cattle
[00:01:06.420]and that's pretty much it's only use.
[00:01:08.870]So what we're trying to do is and value to that fiber
[00:01:12.830]by producing a really valuable product from it.
[00:01:16.699]We are interested in converting low-value products like
[00:01:22.650]corn stover into high-value products using microorganisms.
[00:01:28.330]Taking advantage of their biochemical capabilities.
[00:01:32.850]One example is the organism actinobacillus synagens
[00:01:37.540]which is isolated from the rumen of cattle.
[00:01:40.820]And we like that organism because it can use
[00:01:43.560]a variety of different sugars found in corn fiber.
[00:01:50.690]It will then convert that
[00:01:53.310]low-value product into a high-value product
[00:01:56.760]which is called succinate
[00:01:58.280]and succinate can be used for all kinds of things including
[00:02:02.040]bioplastics and a variety of chemicals
[00:02:04.780]can be made from succinate.
[00:02:06.530]And so actinobacillus synagens
[00:02:09.520]naturally produces a lot of succinate.
[00:02:12.760]In the lab, as it makes all that succinate,
[00:02:16.090]which is an acid, succinic acid,
[00:02:18.440]the PH of the media drops, drops a lot,
[00:02:24.040]to where the organism can no longer live.
[00:02:26.930]And so what we are working on in this lab is then
[00:02:32.260]giving the organism the ability
[00:02:34.740]to survive in that low PH
[00:02:37.080]as it's making lots of succinate for us by
[00:02:41.900]engineering it to maintain its internal PH
[00:02:45.230]at a close to seven while its external PH
[00:02:48.380]can be down around four.
[00:02:50.030]And this is also very useful for downstream processing.
[00:02:58.460]We are entrusted to make
[00:03:01.610]process, or processes more efficient.
[00:03:05.310]In the future we don't want to limit ourself
[00:03:09.750]to a three liter, ten liter reactor, rather,
[00:03:13.050]we'd be happy to tie this project up
[00:03:16.100]with an existing facility, biochemical facility,
[00:03:20.500]so that we can produce succinic acid in higher quantity.
[00:03:25.010]Down the line, that's what I envision this project.
[00:03:27.880](bright guitar music)
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