Team:Alberta-North-RBI E



Success! Thanks!

University of Alberta's Upcycled Aromatics is proud and honoured to have won the 2012 iGEM E World Championship! Thanks everyone who supported Upcycled Aromatics, our sponsors, advisors and fellow iGEM'ers. All the hard work paid off, and certainly now there is a lot more work to be done!

The Pitch

Project Overview

New developments in synthetic biology have allowed scientists to explore innovative ways of producing important, high-value chemicals from what was once seen as industrial waste. In particular, paper recycling plants, as a byproduct of their operation, produce a waste sludge composed of paper fibres too short for further processing. This is a significant source of potentially exploitable cellulose. Aromatics represent a potentially lucrative chemical endpoint for this cellulose, having high price per unit mass and a sustainable market in both the pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industries. The conversion of this waste into valuable industrial chemicals is a relatively unexplored business opportunity and provides a unique niche which Upcycled Aromatics can fill.

Our company’s proposed process has two parts: in the first, cellulose from waste sludge from recycling plants is converted into glucose; in the second, glucose from the first part is used as a feedstock for the production of aromatic chemicals. The cellulose to glucose to products conversion will be done “on-site”. The products are high value aromatic compounds used in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, food, fragrances and flavouring and specialty chemicals.

In the glucose to aromatics conversion, we plan to use only a single metabolic pathway with “on/off genetic switches” at different “steps” of the process. This gives us the freedom to produce any of three desired compounds as an end product: shikimate, cinnamic acid or 4-hydroxycinnamic acid. Possible switch activators include temperature pH, or the addition of a inhibiting chemical such as phosphate.




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