Team:Queens Canada/Side/Biodegradation


Biodegradation Overview

Upon discovering that a bacterium, Pseudomonas putida, has the ability to degrade naphthalene through a specialized pathway, we worked on a proposed construct that serves as a thought experiment on the ability of C. elegans to acquire biodegradation capability.

The P. putida pathway is extensive, however, we propose that with enough time and resources, the entire pathway could be engineered in C. elegans to allow the worm to eat up naphthalene.

Targeted Biodegradation: Naphthalene

In this project, we decided to focus on the biodegradation of naphthalene. Naphthalene is an environmental contaminant that can be formed in industrial processes. Naphthalene is a polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and is considered to be a suspected carcinogen. This chemical is a good target for bioremediation and can be broken down by the NAH7 operon of P. putida.

NahD Enzyme

We put one of the enzymes of this pathway into the standard BioBrick format. While the enzyme (NAHD) that is encoded will not degrade naphthalene on its own, in future applications a combination of the remaining enzymes has the potential to offer C. elegans the capacity to fully degrade naphthalene.

You can view the BioBrick BBa_K631039 (NahD) here.