Producing Long-Chain Alkanes in Cyanobacteria
Synechococcus sp PCC 7002
Synechococcus sp PCC 7002 has been identified as an excellent chassis for biofuel production as it is photosynthetic, fast-growing and capable of secreting products. The production of biofuels maintains a closed-carbon loop which reuses carbon already found in the atmosphere rather than releasing more carbon from the ground.
The primary issue with our current energy infrastructure is the unclean burning of fossil fuels. Not only is oil a limited resource, but our usage of oil pollutes our atmosphere with CO2 which causes a multitude of environmental consequences. To make matters worse, alternative energy solutions are often high in costs and cannot respond to the fluctuations in energy demands that occur on a daily basis. Our project proposes the use of the cyanobacteria to create a self-sustaining source of biofuels. If our idea can be realized, our organism can convert fatty acids into long chain alkanes (via the Alk operon) and export them (via the AlkL channel). This could solve the major issues of CO2 emissions in our current energy infrastructure.