UK researchers cut costs switching bacteria around to produce novel products

June 9, 2021 |

In the UK, high-value chemicals used in biofuels and pharmaceuticals can be made from bacteria by switching their chemistry to produce novel products. Researchers from the University of Warwick have found a way to drastically cut the cost of turning on these switches. 

Typically, genetic switches are turned on by adding a chemical called an inducer. However, inducers are expensive, and often need to be constantly added to prevent switching back off, analogous to a “light switch with a spring in it” that turns back off when you let go. This makes this switching approach expensive and so scaling up to industrial production economically infeasible.

In the paper, “Designing an irreversible metabolic switch for scalable induction of microbial chemical production,” published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick have found a cheap way to switch bacteria into chemical production mode.

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Category: Research

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