About this Research Topic
Bacteria have a surprising richness of pathways, and new pathways are continuously being discovered due to large-scale genomics and metagenomics projects. We want to understand these pathways and their regulation to help face global environmental challenges. Some synthetic biology strategies can even outsmart nature, such as 3x better carbon dioxide fixation by the CETCH cycle, and discovering better synthetic biology strategies is a promising approach to continue to outsmart nature. We would like to better model such approaches and calculate the potential benefits so that our productivity does not present an insurmountable challenge to nature. Particularly, our different wastes (e.g. plastics, metals, carbon dioxide, methane, etc.) should be met by proper degradation and recycling efforts including innovative solutions from synthetic biology.
With our economy prospering and our improved standard of living, the pressure on the environment increases through waste and pollution. Pollutants impact the atmosphere (greenhouse gases), oceans (plastics), and the land (plastics, metals, chemicals), and they increase deforestation and desertification. We will focus particularly on the biochemical challenges arising from these different stresses, e.g. atmosphere gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. New and innovative help can come from bacteria from different habitats including the ocean, forests, and the earth’s crust, and innovative bacterial pathways can be found from nature or designed in the organisms from these habitats.
Innovative strategies from synthetic biology using bacterial pathways to master biochemical environmental challenges are hence dearly wanted. This Research Topic will focus on:
a) Metabolic modeling or other computational biology approaches pertaining to the topic
b) Study of new relevant pathways (either naturally occurring or synthetically derived) to face the biochemical challenges of these environmental stressors
c) Innovative approaches from synthetic biology to tackle an environmental problem, for instance, natural or engineered bacteria as condensation nuclei for clouds; sustainable energy generation strategies in plants and cyanobacteria (but not algae, other topics) such as synthetic carbon dioxide harvesting; waste disposal strategies for plastics or methane digestion in cows to lower output of methane
We are interested in Original Research, Perspectives, and Reviews on this fascinating field. Input to our Research Topic can come from innovative synthetic biology efforts and original work on new pathways, their modeling, application, dissection, augmentation, and in-depth analysis. This means new insights can also come from bacteria from different habitats including ocean, forests, and the earth’s crust, using and describing innovative bacterial pathways found from nature as an inspiration for synthetic biology including identification and study of such powerful microbes. Theoretical modeling will evaluate individual approaches and pathways as well as describing general strategies.
Dr. Elena Bencurova stands as the Co-ordinator for this Research Topic. We would like to acknowledge her contribution to the preparation of this Topic and her involvement in the collection.
Keywords: metabolism, pathways, xenobiotics, bacteria, synthetic biology
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