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Augmenting Protocols for In-situ Separation of Biocompounds.

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In our modern world the source of for many chemicals is to acquire and refine oil. This process is becoming an expensive to the environment and to human health. Alternative processes for acquiring the final product have been developed but

In our modern world the source of for many chemicals is to acquire and refine oil. This process is becoming an expensive to the environment and to human health. Alternative processes for acquiring the final product have been developed but still need work. One product that is valuable is butanol. The normal process for butanol production is very intensive but there is a method to produce butanol from bacteria. This process is better because it is more environmentally safe than using oil. One problem however is that when the bacteria produce too much butanol it reaches the toxicity limit and stops the production of butanol. In order to keep butanol from reaching the toxicity limit an adsorbent is used to remove the butanol without harming the bacteria. The adsorbent is a mesoporous carbon powder that allows the butanol to be adsorbed on it. This thesis explores different designs for a magnetic separation process to extract the carbon powder from the culture.

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2015-05

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Improvement strategies for the production of renewable chemicals by Synechocystis sp PCC 6803

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Synechocystis sp PCC 6803 is a photosynthetic cyanobacterium that can be easily transformed to produce molecules of interest; this has increased Synechocystis’ popularity as a clean energy platform. Synechocystis has been shown to produce and excrete molecules such as fatty

Synechocystis sp PCC 6803 is a photosynthetic cyanobacterium that can be easily transformed to produce molecules of interest; this has increased Synechocystis’ popularity as a clean energy platform. Synechocystis has been shown to produce and excrete molecules such as fatty acids, isoprene, etc. after appropriate genetic modification. Challenges faced for large–scale growth of modified Synechocystis include abiotic stress, microbial contamination and high processing costs of product and cell material. Research reported in this dissertation contributes to solutions to these challenges. First, abiotic stress was addressed by overexpression of the heat shock protein ClpB1. In contrast to the wild type, the ClpB1 overexpression mutant (Slr1641+) tolerated rapid temperature changes, but no difference was found between the strains when temperature shifts were slower. Combination of ClpB1 overexpression with DnaK2 overexpression (Slr1641+/Sll0170+) further increased thermotolerance. Next, we used a Synechocystis strain that carries an introduced isoprene synthase gene (IspS+) and that therefore produces isoprene. We attempted to increase isoprene yields by overexpression of key enzymes in the methyl erythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway that leads to synthesis of the isoprene precursor. Isoprene production was not increased greatly by MEP pathway induction, likely because of limitations in the affinity of the isoprene synthase for the substrate. Finally, two extraction principles, two–phase liquid extraction (e.g., with an organic and aqueous phase) and solid–liquid extraction (e.g., with a resin) were tested. Two–phase liquid extraction is suitable for separating isoprene but not fatty acids from the culture medium. Fatty acid removal required acidification or surfactant addition, which affected biocompatibility. Therefore, improvements of both the organism and product–harvesting methods can contribute to enhancing the potential of cyanobacteria as solar–powered biocatalysts for the production of petroleum substitutes.

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2013

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Improving cyanobacterial hydrogen production through bioprospecting of natural microbial communities

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Some cyanobacteria can generate hydrogen (H2) under certain physiological conditions and are considered potential agents for biohydrogen production. However, they also present low amounts of H2 production, a reaction reversal towards H2 consumption, and O2 sensitivity. Most attempts to improve

Some cyanobacteria can generate hydrogen (H2) under certain physiological conditions and are considered potential agents for biohydrogen production. However, they also present low amounts of H2 production, a reaction reversal towards H2 consumption, and O2 sensitivity. Most attempts to improve H2 production have involved genetic or metabolic engineering approaches. I used a bio-prospecting approach instead to find novel strains that are naturally more apt for biohydrogen production. A set of 36, phylogenetically diverse strains isolated from terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments were probed for their potential to produce H2 from excess reductant. Two distinct patterns in H2 production were detected. Strains displaying Pattern 1, as previously known from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, produced H2 only temporarily, reverting to H2 consumption within a short time and after reaching only moderately high H2 concentrations. By contrast, Pattern 2 cyanobacteria, in the genera Lyngbya and Microcoleus, displayed high production rates, did not reverse the direction of the reaction and reached much higher steady-state H2 concentrations. L. aestuarii BL J, an isolate from marine intertidal mats, had the fastest production rates and reached the highest steady-state concentrations, 15-fold higher than that observed in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Because all Pattern 2 strains originated in intertidal microbial mats that become anoxic in dark, it was hypothesized that their strong hydrogenogenic capacity may have evolved to aid in fermentation of the photosynthate. When forced to ferment, these cyanobacteria display similarly desirable characteristics of physiological H2 production. Again, L. aestuarii BL J had the fastest specific rates and attained the highest H2 concentrations during fermentation, which proceeded via a mixed-acid pathway to yield acetate, ethanol, lactate, H2, CO2 and pyruvate. The genome of L. aestuarii BL J was sequenced and bioinformatically compared to other cyanobacterial genomes to ascertain any potential genetic or structural basis for powerful H2 production. The association hcp exclusively in Pattern 2 strains suggests its possible role in increased H2 production. This study demonstrates the value of bioprospecting approaches to biotechnology, pointing to the strain L. aestuarii BL J as a source of useful genetic information or as a potential platform for biohydrogen production.

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2013

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Enhancing the Expression Levels of Fabs in Escherichia coli

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Enhancing the expression levels of Fabs (antigen-binding antibody fragments) in Escherichia coli is a difficult field that has a variety of potential exciting implications. The field has grown substantially in the past twenty years. The main area of difficulty is

Enhancing the expression levels of Fabs (antigen-binding antibody fragments) in Escherichia coli is a difficult field that has a variety of potential exciting implications. The field has grown substantially in the past twenty years. The main area of difficulty is facilitating the entry of the antibody fragments into the periplasm of E. Coli, where the antibody fragments can be successfully expressed. Entry into the periplasm is difficult for antibody fragments due to their inability to fold in any other section besides the periplasm. Therefore it is necessary for the antibody to enter the periplasm in an unfolded state. Background research was done into inspecting the three primary methods of periplasmic entry: the Sec-dependent pathway, the SRP-dependent pathway (signal recognition particle) and the TAT-dependent pathway (twin arginine translocase). The Sec-dependent and SRP-dependent pathways were deemed more viable for expressing antibodies due to their ability to transfer an unfolded protein into the periplasm, which the TAT-dependent pathway cannot do. Academic research showed that the Sec-dependent and SRP-dependent pathways were equally viable methods, with more research being done into the Sec-dependent pathway, particularly of the OmpA signal sequence. Physical experiments were done using typical cloning procedures with slight modifications to the ligation step (Gibson Assembly was performed instead of normal ligation). These physical experiments showed that the Sec-dependent and SRP-dependent pathways were equally viable methods of periplasmic entry. The A4 and C6 antibodies were successfully expressed using these pathways. These antibodies were expressed on an SDS gel using 10% SDS. It was hypothesized that with further experimental modifications, using different signal sequences, Fabs can be expressed at higher and more consistent level.

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2016-12

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Biosynthetic production of aromatic fine chemicals

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This dissertation focuses on the biosynthetic production of aromatic fine chemicals in engineered Escherichia coli from renewable resources. The discussed metabolic pathways take advantage of key metabolites in the shikimic acid pathway, which is responsible for the production of the

This dissertation focuses on the biosynthetic production of aromatic fine chemicals in engineered Escherichia coli from renewable resources. The discussed metabolic pathways take advantage of key metabolites in the shikimic acid pathway, which is responsible for the production of the aromatic amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. For the first time, the renewable production of benzaldehyde and benzyl alcohol has been achieved in recombinant E. coli with a maximum titer of 114 mg/L of benzyl alcohol. Further strain development to knockout endogenous alcohol dehydrogenase has reduced the in vivo degradation of benzaldehyde by 9-fold, representing an improved host for the future production of benzaldehyde as a sole product. In addition, a novel alternative pathway for the production of protocatechuate (PCA) and catechol from the endogenous metabolite chorismate is demonstrated. Titers for PCA and catechol were achieved at 454 mg/L and 630 mg/L, respectively. To explore potential routes for improved aromatic product yields, an in silico model using elementary mode analysis was developed. From the model, stoichiometric optimums maximizing both product-to-substrate and biomass-to-substrate yields were discovered in a co-fed model using glycerol and D-xylose as the carbon substrates for the biosynthetic production of catechol. Overall, the work presented in this dissertation highlights contributions to the field of metabolic engineering through novel pathway design for the biosynthesis of industrially relevant aromatic fine chemicals and the use of in silico modelling to identify novel approaches to increasing aromatic product yields.

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2016