New Bioplastic Production Paradigm

From fire to bacteria: chemistry is gradually shifting production paradigm and moving into a new era.

A researcher group from RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (Japan) has achieved a threefold increase in production of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), a type of bioplastic, by modifying cyanobacterial genes.

The group previously found that a protein, named Rre37, which is a response regulator induced by nitrogen depletion, controls carbon metabolism of cyanobacteria. Researchers generated genetically engineered cyanobacterial strain, which overexpressing rre37 in unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. The rre37-overexpressing strain produced PHBs under nitrogen starvation at twice levels of the control strain. In addition, double over-expression of rre37 and sigE, which encodes another regulator of PHB biosynthesis, enhanced the amount of PHB by three times.

These results contribute to a novel path for the production of bio- PHB from carbon dioxide derived via microalgae. Further understanding of molecular mechanisms of PHB production in cyanobacteria will lead to the enhancement of bioplastics production in the future.

The RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science’s mission is to enhance the use of biomaterials based on an understanding of the diversity of both biological and chemical functions, and to contribute thereby to a resource and energy sustainable society by developing production technologies that are gentle on the natural world and promote a sustainable society. It implies the fusion of different fields, such as biology, chemistry and chemical biology the development of technology for enhanced photosynthesis and CO2fixation catalysts. Its goal is to develop technology to allow production of useful resources from CO2.

Source – http://www.csrs.riken.jp/en/about/index.html

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