The Road to Optimizing Every Single Available Human Resource--A Spotlight For Your Pee

Khryss | Published 2017-09-08 11:41

And other interesting byproducts of your body like sweat and (soon) poop!

Guess you'll never at look those dripping sweat you've worked up or even your recent leak!

"Waste not, want not" attitude has just gotten to its next level. While those byproducts have long been considered as junks or wastes that should be discarded, Mark A. Blenner, a bioengineer and assistant professor at Clemson University, has his own plans on it.

Expansion of human civilization to space needs certain sacrifices. And if you're dead serious to gettig to Moon, Mars, and other frontiers, researchers say you'd have to utilize every available resource--everything.

And so, here's a yeast strain called Yarrowia lipolytica for our next project towards the bright future of humanity. Turn your bodily excretions into handy materials like nutrients or plastics and be one of the neo Earthlings!

"We chose [Y. lipolytica] because it has a combination of favorable properties for using waste and to make a variety of useful products," Blenner told Motherboard. "It has a robust metabolism for several sugars and for different types of nitrogen, as well as fatty wastes. It tolerates a number of inhibitory chemicals. It has enough genetic engineering tools to enable us to make different products."

"This yeast is really good at making lipids and oleochemicals [like omega-3 fatty acids] which could both benefit astronauts," Blenner added. "It should also be good at making other molecules from the building blocks that make up lipids."

The yeast can even be engineered to produce polymer materials that can create plastic parts and tool through an onboard 3D-printer on space! But, of course, this still needs a lot of testing before astronauts get to use it.

"We don't know how [the yeast] will perform relative to Earth," Blenner said. "We are planning to try to get our yeast to the International Space Station in next couple of years."

Here's to newfound appreciation on our bodily wastes, yes?

Hey! Where are you going?? Subscribe!

Get weekly science updates in your inbox!