Design of the Project
The e-coli, DH5alpha, which is already located inside the mealworm's gut has the ability to decompose polystyrene. However, polystyrene only takes 7.8% of world plastic waste, while PET takes more than 51%. Unfortunately, the mealworms did not have the ability to decompose polyethylene just yet. On the bright side however, we discovered an enzyme that was artificially made by scientists to decompose PET: PETase. In our project we tried to recombine DH5alpha and PETase through chemical transformation and to see if the system worked. If they recombined properly, they will have resistance to the antibiotic in the LB Agar Medium. And that would be a sign that our PETase gene is safely incorporated in the e-coli’s DNA and that our system would work.