It has been pointed out to me on several occasions that research directed at producing PHB as a bioplastic at a reasonable price has been ongoing for several decades already. So the question that naturally follows is what makes my approach different from the other research projects? That is a fair question!
In the last 20 years, research on bacteria has progressed at a tremendous rate. We now know a lot more about bacteria. We have aquired many new methods for manipulating bacteria. The body of literature dealing with innovations in gene manipulation has grown dramatically.
Furthermore, in biology, experience counts. This experience opens up possibilities that younger, less-experienced scientists don’t have. With my many years of experience in the lab, I have been able to acquire a lot of knowledge. This has let to the patent I have filed, which is about how to modify non-model bacteria. Previously, methods for modifying bacteria were restricted to a few model bacteria whose genomes were sequenced (whose entire DNA was known).
Nowadays, the number of sequenced bacteria has grown enormously, meaning that almost any isolated bacteria can be relatively quickly identified. Other recent breakthroughs have opened new possibilities, such as the use of a non-PHB producing bacterium like Escherichia coli to produce significant amounts of PHB following genetic modification.
This means that, in theory, it is possible to manipulate any bacterium. All that one needs is the knowledge for how. We now have some of that knowledge.
In short, as our knowledge grows, so also the opportunites to apply this knowledge. With my experience and my achievements thus far, I believe that I am in a strong position to tackle this challenge.
Below is a list of the achievements which I believe shows that I am up to the task:
The first ever triple reporter construct capable of reporting expression of three different genes simultaneously within a single cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2015.01.021
An invention which allows control over gene expression in non-model organisms (filed patent under process).
A bacterium capable of detecting quorum sensing molecules (AHLs) at concentrations as low as 1 nM. DOI: 10.1111/mmi.14312
Improvements to a strain of Agrobacterium tumefaciens that significantly increases the yield of the commercially relevant polymer curdlan (unpublished).
Discovery of a highly conserved gene (found in virtually all bacteria) responsible for a four-fold increase in PHB production in Rhodobacter sphaeroides (also upublished).