Inspired by nature, biotransformation offers the opportunity to create value added products from renewable feedstocks or target chemicals by employing enzymes or biocatalysts which are isolated from natural products. Several groups in SynCTI with overlapping projects are collaborating to create engineered microbial hosts and enzymes to develop novel biotransformation processes. While some groups are focused on generating certain enantiopure chemicals which are key intermediates in several pharmaceutical processes other groups are focused on projects involving bioremediation.
Recovery of precious metals from electronic waste is one of the bioremediation project being pursued where microbes such as Chromobacterium violaceum are engineered to optimize the metal recovery process. This process includes production of lixiviants to solubilize the metals, followed by selective reduction and recovery of target metals in their elementary form, and finally bioelimination of used lixiviants towards zero waste output.
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