|Home||Team||Official Team Profile||Project||Parts Submitted to the Registry||Notebook||Safety||Attributions|
What are you working on this semester?
Exploring new alternative energy sources in modern society has become a high priority in scientific research. The recent increases in energy costs have inspired and pushed scientists and engineers to continue to search for more efficient ways of powering our future. We plan to explore the field of synthetic biology to search for new sustainable methods of renewable energy production. Our approach involves using the protein Proterohodospin to test whether or not light can be a viable method for fuel production. Proterohodopsin(PR), used by cells when deprived of oxygen, exhibits the process, similar to photosynthesis, that converts ultraviolet light to an alternative energy source for the production of ATP to power the cell. One application of the PR protein is to use it on cells that produce ethanol/butanol and change their original food source to light to produce biofuel that can be used. Our approach is to alter the genetic structure of E.coli, using our understanding of synthetic biology, to mimic the cells that produces the ethanol/butanol and express the PR protein by using Azide to stop the cells from consuming oxygen, thereby forcing the cell to use light as a food source. The goal of our research is to create a "BioPanel" that will use the PR induced cells to produce ethanol/butanol that can be tested later for feasibility and future commercial applications. The success of this research will suggest whether or not using light to create fuel is a viable alternative energy source for the future.