Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Caffeine-'addicted' bacteria: Finding may lead to new decontamination methods, new medicines

Date:
March 27, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Some people may joke about living on caffeine, but scientists now have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to do that -- literally. Their report describes bacteria being "addicted" to caffeine in a way that promises practical uses ranging from decontamination of wastewater to bioproduction of medications for asthma.

Genetically engineered bacteria are “addicted” to caffeine in a way that promises practical uses ranging from decontamination of wastewater to bioproduction of medications for asthma.
Credit: volff / Fotolia

Some people may joke about living on caffeine, but scientists now have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to do that -- literally. Their report in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology describes bacteria being "addicted" to caffeine in a way that promises practical uses ranging from decontamination of wastewater to bioproduction of medications for asthma.

Related Articles


Jeffrey E. Barrick and colleagues note that caffeine and related chemical compounds have become important water pollutants due to widespread use in coffee, soda pop, tea, energy drinks, chocolate and certain medications. These include prescription drugs for asthma and other lung diseases. The scientists knew that a natural soil bacterium, Pseudomonas putida CBB5, can actually live solely on caffeine and could be used to clean up such environmental contamination. So they set out to transfer genetic gear for metabolizing, or breaking down, caffeine from P. putida into that old workhorse of biotechnology, E. coli, which is easy to handle and grow.

The study reports their success in doing so, as well as use of the E. coli for decaffeination and measuring the caffeine content of beverages. It describes development of a synthetic packet of genes for breaking down caffeine and related compounds that can be moved easily to other microbes. When engineered into certain E. coli, the result was bacteria literally addicted to caffeine. The genetic packet could have applications beyond environmental remediation, the scientists say, citing potential use as a sensor to measure caffeine levels in beverages, in recovery of nutrient-rich byproducts of coffee processing and for the cost-effective bioproduction of medicines.

The author and co-authors acknowledge financial support from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Iowa.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Caffeine-'addicted' bacteria: Finding may lead to new decontamination methods, new medicines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130327133523.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, March 27). Caffeine-'addicted' bacteria: Finding may lead to new decontamination methods, new medicines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130327133523.htm
American Chemical Society. "Caffeine-'addicted' bacteria: Finding may lead to new decontamination methods, new medicines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130327133523.htm (accessed April 17, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 17, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 17, 2015) A truck carrying honey bees overturns near Lynnwood, Washington, spreading boxes of live bees across the highway. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Dog flu is spreading in several Midwestern states. Dog daycare centers and veterinary offices are taking precautions. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers from the E/V Nautilus had quite a surprise Tuesday, when a curious sperm whale swam around their remotely operated vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico. Cameras captured the encounter. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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