Synthetic biology approaches to new nanomaterials | AIChE

Synthetic biology approaches to new nanomaterials


Chang, M. C. - Presenter, University of California, Berkeley

Living systems have evolved the capacity to carry out many complex chemical transformations that could be potentially redesigned for the synthesis of target molecules of interest. One interesting example is the biogenesis of iron oxide nanocrystals in the directional-sensing bacterium, Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1. Magnetotactic bacteria have evolved a sophisticated system to sense the earth’s magnetic field using linear chains of biological magnets, consisting of membrane-encapsulated nanoparticles built from magnetite (Fe3O4). These materials are biologically templated, producing defectless nanocrystals with a narrow size and shape distribution. Our goals in this area are to elucidate the biological mechanisms of iron mineralization by magnetotactic bacteria with the overall goal of developing synthetic biology approaches for the production of new nanomaterials using the magnetosome compartment.