Under the supervision of Future BRH scientist Professor Eriko Takano, The University of Manchester’s iGEM team recently won a gold medal for their achievements at this year’s Giant Jamboree in Boston. The team created genetically engineered bacteria for a novel hair care product – combining hair dye, fragrance and repair mechanisms. They were also nominated for the Best New Application special prize. Read more about it here.
The breakthrough behind this approach is the ability to re-engineer the microbe’s genome so to change its metabolism and create different types of high value chemical compounds which could be renewable alternatives to crude oil.
Following on from this research, Professor Nigel Scrutton explained: “Effective biofuels strategies require the economic production of fuels derived from a robust microbial host on a very large scale – usually cultivated on renewable waste biomass or industrial waste streams – but also with minimal downstream processing and avoids use of fresh water. With Halomonas these requirements can be met, so minimizing capital and operational costs in the production of these next generation biofuels.”
This research could be groundbreaking news for the wider biofuels industry. “In the case of the jet fuel intermediates we are bio-producing, they are chemically identical to petrochemical derived molecules, and will be able to ‘drop-in’ to processes developed at China Lake,” added Dr Kirk Malone, Director of Commercialisation at The University of Manchester’s MIB.
You can read more about the breakthrough here