Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Super-microbes engineered to solve world environmental problems

08.10.2012
Environmental problems, such as depleting natural resources, highlight the need to establish a renewable chemical industry. Metabolic engineering enhances the production of chemicals made by microbes in so-called "cell factories".

Next Monday, world class scientist Professor Sang Yup Lee of KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) will explain how metabolic engineering could lead to the development of solutions to these environmental problems.

For example, the polyester polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable material with a wide range of uses, from medical implants, to cups, bags, food packaging and disposable tableware. It and its co-polymer can be produced by direct fermentation of renewable resources using metabolically engineered Escherichia coli. 1 (image available - see note 3).

Microorganisms isolated from nature use their own metabolism to produce certain chemicals. But they are often inefficient, so metabolic engineering is used to improve microbial performance. Beginning in the 1990s, metabolic engineering involves the modification of microbial cells to enhance the production of what's known as a bioproduct. This bioproduct can be something that the cell produces naturally, like ethanol or butanol. It can also be something that the cells mechanisms can produce if their natural metabolic pathways are altered in some way. The range of uses of this bioproduct can be broadened through metabolic engineering, which can also optimize the overall process of bioproduct synthesis.

Recently, metabolic engineering has become more powerful, through the integration of itself with systems and synthetic biology. Systems biology is a relatively new approach to biological research which looks at the complex interactions within whole cell systems. It allows cell-wide understanding of metabolic reactions and the way these are regulated by the cell's genes.

Synthetic biology is another new approach that designs and constructs new biological functions and systems that aren't found in nature. It allows the design of new genes, modules and circuits that can be used to modulate the cells metabolism to make more of the desired bioproduct. So systems metabolic engineering can now develop superior microorganisms much more efficiently through the integration of itself with systems biology and synthetic biology.

Professor Lee will introduce general strategies for systems metabolic engineering which will be accompanied by many successful examples, including the production of chemicals, fuels and materials such as propanol, butanol, 1,4-diaminobutane, 1,5-diaminopentane, succinic acid, polyhydroxyalkanoates, and polylactic acid.

Professor Sang Yup Lee said: "Bio-based production of chemicals and materials will play an increasingly important role in establishing a sustainable world. To make the bioprocess efficient and economically competitive, it is essential to improve the performance of microorganisms through systems metabolic engineering. From industrial solvents to plastics, an increasing number of products of everyday use will be produced through bioprocesses."

Professor Lee will present the 5th Environmental Microbiology Lecture on 8 October 2012 at the Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE. Registration begins at 17.30 and the lecture will start 18.30. There will be a drinks reception after the lecture at 19.30 - 20.30.

Notes to Editors:

Contact Details

Additional information is available from: Dr Lucy Harper, Communications Manager at the Society for Applied Microbiology [Office: +44(0)1234 326661; Mobile: 07920 264596; email: lucy@sfam.org.uk]

1. The Environmental Microbiology lecture co-sponsored by the Society for Applied Microbiology and Wiley-Blackwell will take place from 17.30 on 8 October 2012 at the Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street London W16 0AE. Professor Sang Yup Lee will be available for interviews from 17.00 before the event.

2. The lecture will be available online 24hrs after the event.

3. A photograph of a transmission electron micrograph of metabolically engineered Escherichia coli cells accumulating poly(lactate-co-3hydroxybutyrate) copolymers is available via this dropbox folder: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/k02x6hiulvpmvx5/TOo3E58jqh

4. Photographs will be taken during the event and will be available on request from Dr Lucy Harper: lucy@sfam.org.uk or Clare Doggett: clare@sfam.org.uk

5. About Wiley-Blackwell

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes over 1,400 peer-reviewed journals as well as 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyonlinelibrary.com or www.wileyonlinelibrary.com.

6. About the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM)

SfAM is the voice of applied microbiology within the UK. It is the oldest UK microbiology society with members worldwide. In 2006 SfAM celebrated the 75th anniversary and a number of special events were held during the year. The final celebration was the President's Dinner which was held in the Palace of Westminster on 23rd November 2006. SfAM works in partnership with sister organisations and microbiological bodies to ensure that microbiology and microbiologists are able to exert influence on policy-makers within the UK, in Europe and world-wide.

7. About KAIST Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

(KAIST) was established in 1971 as Korea's first research university specialized in science, engineering and technology. In 1986, the university began admitting undergraduate students (As of today, KAIST has 6,000 graduate and 4,000 undergraduate students). Mainly funded by the Korean government, KAIST has played an integral role in the nation's state-of-the-art research and technology development and nurtured highly trained scientists and engineers who became outstanding leaders in academia, industry and business throughout the world.

Ref:1. Yu Kyung Jung, Tae Yong Kim, Si Jae Park, Sang Yup Lee. Metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli for the production of polylactic acid and its copolymers. Biotechnology and Bioengineering Volume 105, Issue 1, pages 161-171, 1 January 2010 DOI:10.1002/bit.22548. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bit.22548/abstract - full article behind paywall.

Lan Yoon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.kaist.ac.kr

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>