Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria converted into ‘mini-factories’ for biofuels and vaccines

Date:
June 11, 2010
Source:
University of Kent
Summary:
Scientists have manipulated simple bacteria into constructing internal compartments where biofuels and vaccines can be produced. These micro-compartments eventually occupy almost 70 percent of the available space in a bacteria cell, enabling segregation of metabolic activities and, in the era of synthetic biology, representing an important tool by which defined micro-environments can be created for specific metabolic functions.

Scientists at the University of Kent and University College Cork have manipulated simple bacteria into constructing internal compartments where biofuels and vaccines can be produced.

Related Articles


These micro-compartments eventually occupy almost 70 percent of the available space in a bacteria cell, enabling segregation of metabolic activities and, in the era of synthetic biology, representing an important tool by which defined micro-environments can be created for specific metabolic functions.

Martin Warren, Professor of Biochemistry at the School of Biosciences, University of Kent, explained: 'Synthetic biology is really exciting because we can produce some important and useful products that can be difficult and expensive to make using traditional chemistry techniques. Bacteria can make these things very easily and in large quantities if we develop bacteria with the right characteristics to do so efficiently.

'What we often do is to make sure that the desired product is made within one or more tiny compartments that already exist inside the bacteria. This means that the process doesn't get caught up or slowed down by everything else that is going on in the cell and so is much more efficient.'

It is envisaged that these micro-compartments could be modified for the synthesis of ethanol or even hydrogen gas, which could reduce the human need for many oil-derived products, including certain medicines. The team is currently working on ways to produce new antibiotics within these compartments.

Michael Prentice, Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University College Cork, said: 'Using these compartments, simple bacteria like E.coli can make chemicals that would normally be deadly for them. The bacteria are partially protected because the chemicals are being made within compartments inside their cells. We are working on ways to use these 'factories' to produce substances that will kill other harmful bacteria.'

The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Science Foundation Ireland.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Kent. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Parsons et al. Synthesis of Empty Bacterial Microcompartments, Directed Organelle Protein Incorporation, and Evidence of Filament-Associated Organelle Movement. Molecular Cell, 2010; 38 (2): 305 DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2010.04.008

Cite This Page:

University of Kent. "Bacteria converted into ‘mini-factories’ for biofuels and vaccines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608211606.htm>.
University of Kent. (2010, June 11). Bacteria converted into ‘mini-factories’ for biofuels and vaccines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608211606.htm
University of Kent. "Bacteria converted into ‘mini-factories’ for biofuels and vaccines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608211606.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins