Engineering insect larvae for bioremediation of soil contaminants

Project: Other

Project Details


Soil contaminated with pollutants poses a serious threat to human and environmental health. Current methods of remediation are costly and often not practical. Transgenic plants and microbes have been used to breakdown contaminants, but these approaches struggle with genetic containment issues and the suitability of the organism to the polluted environment. Insect larvae adapted to soil or aquatic environments engineered to break down pollutants and not reproduce outside of the laboratory may overcome current limitations.
This project will engineer the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster larva to express a fungal enzyme that can break down a broad class of important pollutants. This is a potentially transformative approach for improving environmental health and a new direction for insect synthetic biology.
Effective start/end date21/01/1931/12/20