Team:Monash Australia


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Monash iGEM 2010 project description

The 2010 Monash University iGEM team has decided to undertake a project by which we shall genetically engineer E. coli to produce ethylene gas. Ethylene gas is the most produced organic compound in the world and its products are found in almost every corner of the planet; One of the major uses of ethylene is production of Polyethylene or more commonly plastic. Current production methods involve heating crude oil up to 900 °C (1,652 °F) and passing through saturated steam in a process called steam cracking. This method is extremely energy intensive which requires the production of greenhouse gases.

We aim to develop a plasmid for E. coli that will allow for production of ethylene at room temperature and from commonly available feedstock that is rich in L-Methionine. We analysed various pathways to the production of ethylene and found that the Yang cycle in plants is the best choice for us. Due to time and monetary constraints we have taken the first three enzymes from this pathway which leads to the production of ethylene.

We believe that this project may be useful as a more energy efficient pathway to ethylene production in a post-fossil fuel economy, and may inspire other scientists to develop cleaner production methods involving biological systems for other fossil fuels.