iGEM Team Göttingen 2016 (Sept 2016)
The iGEM team Göttingen 2016 intends to design, construct and introduce a synthetic Vitamin B12 exporter into a production organism. By establishing a Vitamin B12 exporter, higher yields in the industrial Vitamin B12 production should be possible without lysing the cells. Furthermore, the production efficiency of Vitamin B12 dependent biotechnological products should be increased.
Vitamin B12 is involved in metabolic functions in all organisms and is therefore an essential nutrient. However, it is one of the most expensive biochemicals in the world and its synthesis is extraordinarily complex. Since the chemical production of Vitamin B12 requires 70 synthesis steps, it is far too technically challenging and expensive. Therefore, its production is facilitated by genetically engineered microorganisms. These are able to produce Vitamin B12 in industrial amounts and achieve a high product quality. However, the produced Vitamin B12 is not exported out of the production organism and must be harvested by cell lysis. This prevents a cost efficient production. To date, a natural cellular Vitamin B12 exporter is unknown. Vitamin B12 is not only essential for ourselves but also for the industry. It is for example a compound in vitamin pills as well as in cleaning solutions for contact lenses and needed for biotechnical production of various organic substances.
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