Team:Missouri Miners


Team:Missouri Miners -

Missouri S&T iGEM

power plant

Coal produces a significant portion of global power, but also of produces pollution. Nitrogen oxides are formed and released into the atmosphere by coal burning. This depletes the ozone layer and oxidizes in air to form acid rain. The ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun, shielding organisms on the surface from potentially harmful radiation. After extreme and continuing depletion, our ability to affect and harm the environment is now more apparent than ever. Human contributions to acid rain have been attributed to aquatic ecosystem destruction, soil spoiling, and structural corrosion. Nitric oxides themselves cause numerous respiratory symptoms.

Our Project

We aimed to allow genetically modified organisms to remove all forms of nitrogen oxides from coal exhaust. Fixing nitrogen oxides through Cyanothece or a similar organism not only prevents these harmful compounds from being introduced to the atmosphere, but produces ammonia compounds as end products. Ammonia is an essential part of fertilizer, providing a path to offset costs of cleaning emissions. We standardized these nitrogen fixing genes and added them to the BioBrick Parts Registry for use by other synthetic biologists, hoping that our work is the first step to eliminating nitrogen oxide pollutants from coal flue gases.

For our work we won a bronze medal at the Jamboree: