If you like what we do, be sure to check out the Kiverdi team's recommended reading list below.


THE UNSEEN

Raffi Khatchadourian • The New Yorker, 2016

The near-universal presence of bacteria in nature -- from the deepest layer of the Earth’s crust to the upper atmosphere -- is reflected in their protean applications. They can be used to make industrial foods, to engineer perfumes, to produce fuel or to clean it up. More than half the cells in the human body are microbial, and many of them exist as biological dark matter, too. Learning how they function could offer countless insights into human longevity. For decades, microbes had been a source of essential pharmaceuticals: chemotherapies, blood thinners, and drugs crucial to organ transplants. From just the one per cent of bacterial life that scientists had been able to cultivate, researchers had derived virtually every antibiotic used in modern medicine.


THE FUTURE OF FOOD: FEEDING THE WORLD

Anthology • National Geographic, 2014

For most of history, whenever we’ve needed to produce more food, we’ve simply cut down forests or plowed grasslands to make more farms. We’ve already cleared an area roughly the size of South America to grow crops. To raise livestock, we’ve taken over even more land, an area roughly the size of Africa. Agriculture’s footprint has caused the loss of whole ecosystems around the globe, including the prairies of North America and the Atlantic forest of Brazil, and tropical forests continue to be cleared at alarming rates.


STUDY OF LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS FOR SPACE MISSIONS EXCEEDING ONE YEAR IN DURATION

G.L. Drake, C.D. King, W.A. Johnson, and E.A. Zuraw • Technical Report SP134, NASA, April 1966

Early foundational NASA sponsored study on applying knallgas microorganisms, then called 'hydrogen bacteria,' towards the recycling of CO2 and other human wastes into high protein nutrition. The goal was to implement a 'closed-loop life-support' system, also called an artificial ecosystem, in order to provide human nutrition and waste disposal on space flights exceeding one year in duration – without any resupply. The study pointed out a number of advantages to using chemoautotrophic knallgas microorganisms for CO2 capture and conversion over more familiar photoautotrophic organisms, such as plants and algae; or than phyicochemical methods. These advantages included: 1) far higher energy efficiency in the CO2 conversion, resulting in ten times lower electrical power requirements for a system using knallgas microorganisms, than an equivalent system using algae; and thirty times lower power requirements than a system based on higher plants; 2) connected to advantage 1) – the generation of waste heat that would need to be removed from the system was at least ten times higher for algae and plants than for knallgas microorganisms; 3) considerably lower weight and volume requirements for a CO2 system using knallgas microbes than one using algae or plants due to greater compactness of a knallgas microbe based system.


MICROBES AT WORK

Feature • Learn.Genetics: Genetic Science Learning Center, 2016

Without microbes, the earth would be filled with corpses. Bacteria break down (or decompose) dead organisms, animal waste, and plant litter to obtain nutrients. But microbes don't just eat nature's waste, they recycle it. The process of decomposition releases chemicals (such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) that can be used to build new plants and animals. That is, chemicals that used to be a flower or a vegetable will eventually become part of another living thing.


CO2 CONVERSION BY KNALLGAS MICROORGANISMS

California Energy Commission and Kiverdi, Inc. • January 2017

The biological capture and converting carbon dioxide (CO2) into useful organic molecules has traditionally focused on photosynthetic processes provided by plants or microalgae. More recently, Kiverdi has been developing an alternative approach for the biological capture and conversion of CO2 using natural microorganisms called chemoautotrophs. Instead of using light (photosynthesis) to power the capture of CO2 like plants and algae, chemoautotrophs use a range of elements such as hydrogen (H2), metal ions, and sulfides to power the carbon capture reaction. Approaches to applying such chemoautotrophic microorganisms have received less attention than traditional sugar-based or direct photosynthetic approaches to producing biofuels and chemicals. Kiverdi has been working to fill that gap.

In this document, we report on some initial work developing a promising class of chemoautotrophic microorganisms, called knallgas microorganisms, which can convert CO2 into bioproducts using H2 gas. H2 gas can be generated from a range of renewable, CO2 emission-free energy sources including solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, as well as from the gasification of biomass. The bioproducts that are produced from CO2 can be converted  into other useful products like surfactants, solvents, and biofuels.