Aerobic biodegradation of Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether  By Robert McConeghy Alonso Diaz 1/31/09
Why do we use MTBE? <ul><li>MTBE increases efficiency of automobile engines. </li></ul><ul><li>The oxygen in MTBE helps th...
What is MTBE <ul><li>The C-O-C group is a bent structure.  The two non-bonded pairs on the Oxygen are on the same side mak...
Water Contamination <ul><li>Both New York State and California have passed laws banning the use of MBTE. </li></ul><ul><li...
“ Bacterial Remediation” Taking out the pollutants like Captain Planet, but with bacteria.
MTBE/ETBE Oxidation <ul><li>Monooxygenase performs initial attack </li></ul><ul><li>Many genes and their products are know...
Monooxygenase <ul><li>Alkane Hydroxylase (AH)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Growth on octane seems to “prep” the organism for MTBE </...
<ul><li>Proposed Pathways for MTBE growth </li></ul><ul><li>Are these pathways accurate? </li></ul><ul><li>How would this ...
Synthetic Pathway? <ul><li>If we know all the enzymatic functions required...can we design a pathway for E. coli? </li></u...
If not, can we study the pathway? <ul><li>A field where little is known... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Genetics </li></ul></ul><...
Is this worth more investigation? <ul><li>Pros: </li></ul><ul><li>Surely, a large demand </li></ul><ul><li>Great potential...
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Rob and Alonso's Presentation

  1. 1. Aerobic biodegradation of Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether By Robert McConeghy Alonso Diaz 1/31/09
  2. 2. Why do we use MTBE? <ul><li>MTBE increases efficiency of automobile engines. </li></ul><ul><li>The oxygen in MTBE helps the efficiency of engine combustion thus reducing tailpipe emissions as well. </li></ul><ul><li>MTBE was first used in 1979 by U.S. oil companies to replace tetra-ethyl lead in gasoline. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is MTBE <ul><li>The C-O-C group is a bent structure. The two non-bonded pairs on the Oxygen are on the same side making MTBE polar. Since water shares the bent shape of the C-O-C functional group MTBE dissolves readily in water. This allows a small amount of MTBE to diffuse along a great volume of water which is not good ! </li></ul>
  4. 4. Water Contamination <ul><li>Both New York State and California have passed laws banning the use of MBTE. </li></ul><ul><li>MBTE is a possible carcinogen </li></ul><ul><li>35 μ L MBTE/1 L water= taste able in water </li></ul><ul><li>40 μ L MBTE/1 L water= legal toxicity limit </li></ul><ul><li>This problem has not been confronted before in any IGEM competition. </li></ul>
  5. 5. “ Bacterial Remediation” Taking out the pollutants like Captain Planet, but with bacteria.
  6. 6. MTBE/ETBE Oxidation <ul><li>Monooxygenase performs initial attack </li></ul><ul><li>Many genes and their products are known </li></ul><ul><li>Most work that has been done has been characterization and genetic study. Not much genetic engineering so far. </li></ul><ul><li>no iGEM! </li></ul>
  7. 7. Monooxygenase <ul><li>Alkane Hydroxylase (AH)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Growth on octane seems to “prep” the organism for MTBE </li></ul><ul><li>First/important step in pathway </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Proposed Pathways for MTBE growth </li></ul><ul><li>Are these pathways accurate? </li></ul><ul><li>How would this work in E. coli or yeast? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we get the DNA? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we handle all of it, practically speaking? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Synthetic Pathway? <ul><li>If we know all the enzymatic functions required...can we design a pathway for E. coli? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MTBE and TBA monooxygenases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Esterase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dehydrogenase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mutase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>et cetera </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. If not, can we study the pathway? <ul><li>A field where little is known... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Genetics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protein characterization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More parts of the pathways </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Is this worth more investigation? <ul><li>Pros: </li></ul><ul><li>Surely, a large demand </li></ul><ul><li>Great potential for genetic engineering </li></ul><ul><li>Chemistry is fun. </li></ul><ul><li>Organisms that are not E. coli </li></ul><ul><li>Cons: </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists=N00bs </li></ul><ul><li>We = n00bs </li></ul><ul><li>Policy makers may reduce the severity of the issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Organisms that are not E. coli. </li></ul>

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