Team:BNDS China

BNDS China2019

In Chinese classical art, lacquer and carmine play important roles in the production of lacquerware and therefore the inheritance of lacquerware culture. However, current extraction methods have limitations, including the scarce sources of both substances and the complicated process. Attaining raw lacquer requires manual extraction from Toxicodendron vernicifluum (previously called Rhus verniciflua), and carmine needs to be obtained from cochineal with rather low production efficiency. Here we demonstrate synthetic biology approaches: using Escherichia coli (DH5α) to produce laccase as well as toluene dioxygenase (TDO) and toluene cis-dihydrodiol dehydrogenase (TDD), the latter two of which can convert methylbenzene to urushiol, the other functional component of raw lacquer aside from laccase; utilizing Saccharomyces cerevisiae (BY4741) to produce carminic acid, the major red component of carmine, from malonyl-CoA. After purification, the hard-to-obtain main ingredients laccase, urushiol, and carminic acid are mixed with several commercially available, cost-effective common ingredients, resulting in an artificial red-colored lacquer that can be easily applied in industrial and domestic contexts. The synthetic biology methods largely avoid the potential danger due to unknown, unstable natural components and expand the potential of further developing lacquerware culture.


By using mathematical tools, we constructed models for both projects. These models provide us clear guidelines for the following actions of our program. Check this Red Lacquer Bowl to see our models inside.


The aim of this page is to show clearly why our program deserves medals and awards. To help your evaluation and judgement, please allow us to show the reasons behind this Red Sandalwood Elephant.