Yeast compositions for converting bio-available phosphorus...

Chemistry: molecular biology and microbiology – Micro-organism – per se ; compositions thereof; proces of... – Fungi

Reexamination Certificate

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C435S255100, C435S255200, C435S173800, C435S262500

Reexamination Certificate




The invention relates to the use of yeast cells to incorporate biologically available phosphorus in a culture medium into their own biomass. These yeasts are useful in waste treatment, and can be obtained by growth in electromagnetic fields with specific frequencies and field strengths.
Environmental pollution by urban sewage and industrial waste water has posed a serious health threat to living organisms in the world. Currently, the most common methods for large-scale waste treatment, such as water treatment, include the activated sludge technology and the biomembrane technology. These technologies rely on the innate abilities of myriad natural microorganisms, such as fungi, bacteria and protozoa, to degrade pollutants. However, the compositions of these natural microbial components are difficult to control, affecting the reproducibility and quality of water treatment. Moreover, pathogenic microbes existing in these activated sludge or biomembranes cannot be selectively inhibited, and such microbes usually enter the environment with the treated water, causing “secondary pollution.”
Further, most of the current technologies cannot degrade harmful chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, and chemical fertilizers. These technologies also cannot alleviate eutrophication, another serious environmental problem around the world. Eutrophication is usually caused by sewage, industrial waste water, fertilizers and the like. It refers to waters (e.g., a lake or pond) rich in minerals and organic nutrients that promote a proliferation of plant life, especially algae, which reduces the dissolved oxygen content or otherwise deteriorates water quality. Eutrophication often results in the extinction of other organisms.
This invention is based on the discovery that certain yeast cells can be activated by electromagnetic fields of specific frequencies and field strengths to convert biologically available phosphorus, a major environmental pollutant, to intracellular phosphorus (i.e., incorporating biologically available phosphorus in their environs into their own biomass). Compositions comprising these activated yeast cells can therefore be used for waste treatment, for example, treatment of sewage, industrial waste water, surface water, drinking water, sediment, soil, garbage, and manure, to reduce the content of available phosphorus in the waste. Waste treatment methods using these compositions are more effective, efficient, and economical in preventing eutrophication than the conventional methods.
This invention embraces a composition comprising a plurality of yeast cells that have been cultured in an alternating electric field having a frequency in the range of about 80 MHz to 440 MHz (e.g., 86-120 or 410-430 MHz) and a field strength in the range of about 0.5 to 350 mV (e.g., 60-260 mV/cm). The yeast cells are cultured for a period of time sufficient to substantially increase the capability of said plurality of yeast cells to convert biologically available phosphorus in a culture medium into intracellular phosphorus. In one embodiment, the frequency and/or the field strength of the alternating electric field can be altered within the aforementioned ranges during said period of time. In other words, the yeast cells can be exposed to a series of electromagnetic fields. An exemplary period of time is about 12-400 hours, e.g., 228-368 hours.
Yeast cells that can be included in this composition are available from the China General Microbiological Culture Collection Center (“CGMCC”), a depository recognized under the Budapest Treaty (China Committee for Culture Collection of Microorganisms, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Haidian, P.O. Box 2714, Beijing, 100080, China). Useful yeast species include, but are not limited to,
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Saccharomyces carlsbergensis.
For instance, the yeast cells can be of the strain
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
AS2.346, AS2.423, AS2.430, AS2.451, AS2.558, AS2.620, AS2.628, or IFFI1203; or
Saccharomyces carlsbergensis
This invention further embraces a composition comprising a plurality of yeast cells, wherein said plurality of yeast cells have been activated such that they have a substantially increased capability to convert biologically available phosphorus in a culture medium into intracellular phosphorus as compared to unactivated yeast cells. Included in this invention are also methods of making these compositions.
As used herein, “biologically available” or “assimilable” phosphorus refers to phosphorus that is readily available, useable, or assimilable by living organisms for survival and/or growth. Exemplary biologically available or assimilable phosphorus includes, but is not limited to, PO
, H
, H

, other water-soluble inorganic phosphorus-containing compounds, and organic phosphorus-containing compounds.
A “substantial increase” means an increase of more than
(e.g., 10
, 10
, 10
, 10
, or 10
) fold.
A “culture medium” refers to a medium used in a laboratory for selecting and growing a given yeast strain, or to liquid or solid waste in need of treatment.
Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Exemplary methods and materials are described below, although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can also be used in the practice or testing of the present invention. All publications and other references mentioned herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety. In case of conflict, the present specification, including definitions, will control. The materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.
Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, and from the claims.

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