The resistance of a variety of pollutants to biodegradation is caused by molecular bottlenecks such as incomplete pathways leading to the formation of dead-end or even toxic metabolites, inappropriate regulation of catabolic pathways or poor transformation rates. However, methods are now available for the construction of new and more effective pathways in order to obtain superior biocatalysts.
The purpose of this project is to identify and, eventually, to remove those biological bottlenecks that prevents biodegradation of recalcitrant pollutants and will focus on non-polar chloro- nitro and methyl-substituted benzenes and their metabolites. An adequate library of genes and enzymes appropriate for transformation will be isolated and characterised in detail. The development of a genetic toolbox for stable and predictable integration of isolated genes into selected host bacteria together with optimization of the performance of the isolated genetic elements will allow a rational assembly of these elements to create superior metabolic pathways.This will lead to microorganisms with increased catalytic potential and efficiency for degradation of xenobiotics, and a better survival in environmental settings.
The objectives of this project are (I) the detail ed genetic and biochemical analysis of catabolic elements as tools for the development of biocatalysts for the degradation of recalcitrant compounds, (2) optimization of the effectiveness of catabolic segments by changes in substrate specificity of critical pathway enzymes, the reconstruction of regulatory circuits and the development of specific tools for the stable assembly of optimised segments in appropriate hosts and (3) the development of new predictable bacterial strains able to mineralise previously recalcitrant pollutants under a variety of environmental conditions.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
00015 Monterotondo Roma
LL57 2UW Bangor - Gwynedd