Team:North Texas

Welcome to the UNT iGEM team 2021!

We will save the plants. The people. The environment. The world.

The problem: the present production of nylon contributes to the emission of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is roughly 300 times stronger than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

The solution: By finding a way to make methanotrophs produce GABA from the glutamate that they currently produce, the production of nylon will be significantly more environmentally friendly. Instead of using petroleum and coal, nylon can use GABA as its precursor by going through a biological process rather than a chemical one, significantly reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and pollution of the environment

What our project does

Instead of the CO₂ going out, our project aims to retain the carbon dioxide molecules that are formed during the methanotrophs natural metabolism. We then are able to use that carbon dioxide to help create the precursor GABA, which then produces Nylon-4.


Nylon Precursors: Nylon is currently made from Petroleum which produces Greenhouse gases

  • This produces NOx (Nitrogen Oxide-based greenhouse gases)
  • We are trying to create a biological process for the sustainable production of nylon.
  • Using methanotrophic bacteria, the methane removes greenhouse gases in the process of sustainable conversion.
  • We are essentially converting greenhouse gases into nylon precursors.
  • Promo Video

    This is the link to our UNT iGEM team promotional video!

    With this link you will be able to view our goals and the basis of our project.

    The impact

    • Globally, 500–600 million metric tons of methane are emitted to the atmosphere per year with 69% of emissions derived from microbial sources
    • The project covers methanotrophs and harnessing methane gas to convert methane into a nylon precursor, gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), through a series of enzymatic pathways. We use various methods such as Gibson Assembly to genetically engineer the methanotrophic bacteria to produce these nylon precursors through a less strenuous process while capturing these harmful greenhouse gases.
    • Break down what GABA (GABA, or Gamma-aminobutyric acid, also a “Happy” neurotransmitter, derived from amino-acid glutamate - most abundant molecule in methanotrophic bacteria) is to the average person.
    • In this project, Q5 DNA polymerase, ligase enzymes, and various endonucleases will be used as our genomic reagents, which is crucial to the team’s project because it creates a synthetic DNA polymerase that has a very low error rate.


    The potential of our research

    • Methanotrophic bacteria have recently been discovered to have a dual one-carbon fixing capacity, lending itself the potential to revolutionize the bioeconomy by ameliorating the production of GABA, the precursor to nylon. If we succeed in reengineering the methanotroph then we can significantly reduce the number of harmful gases emitted by the methanotroph. We can also produce more Nylon using a shorter and more efficient process.