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In vivo production of fatty acid methyl esters in cyanobacteria utilizing the insect methyltransferase, DmJHAMT

Biodiesel is mainly composed of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) and is a renewable energy source. Currently FAMEs are synthesized through transesterification of free fatty acids (FFAs) using a methyl donor, such as methanol, along with an alkaline catalyst to speed up the reaction. Both the extraction of FFAs and the chemicals used in this process are expensive. We intend to reduce the production cost of biodiesel by producing FAMEs in vivo using an insect methyltransferase called Drosophila melanogaster Juvenile hormone acid O-methyltransferase (DmJHAMT) within Synechococcus elongates PCC 7942. DmJHAMT transfers the methyl groups from endogenous S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) to FFAs therefore synthesizing FAMEs. To minimize extraction costs, we aim to induce self-lysis in Synechococcus at maximum optical densities using quorum sensing. By regulating the production of autoinducers with promoters of various strengths, we plan to tune the optical density at which gene expression is activated.


University of La Verne iGEM 2015 Team took bronze in first showing at iGEM Competition
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