Project Description



We were initially drawn to our molecule of choice, ɑ-Terpineol, when noticing the global issue of mosquito borne illnesses. As we dove deeper, we discovered that there are very few vaccines for these diseases. Though this is a huge global issue, the ways in which the mosquitos are repelled result in the production of unnecessary harsh chemical byproducts. Our synthetic biology solution is the bioproduction of ɑ-Terpineol for its repellant activities.

Current Knowledge of α-Terpineol:

α-Terpineol has applications in numerous industries but are most commonly seen in flavors and fragrances. There are several known biochemical properties that include; anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, antiseptic, anti-plasmodian and repellant/insecticidal.

Current Manufacturing

Currently, α-Terpineol is collected from natural plant sources though it provides a low yield. Chemical hydration from α-pinene and turpentines using acid catalysts. This process can be environmentally hazardous.

De novo Synthesis of α-Terpineol in Escherichia coli Utilizing a Dual Plasmid Model

There is a growing demand to reduce production of chemicals via traditional manufacturing. Industries that would benefit from biomanufacturing of compounds via microorganisms include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics/fragrances, and other commercial industries. One molecule with potential applications in these fields is the monoterpenoid α-terpineol. α-Terpineol has been shown to have many medicinal and insecticidal properties. Here, we focused on biomanufacturing α-terpineol as a potential mosquito repellant. Specifically, we aimed to produce α-terpineol via de novo synthesis in Escherichia coli cells utilizing an inducible dual plasmid system. The engineered strain was produced by transforming one plasmid which contained the upstream enzymes of the mevalonate (MEV) pathway and a second plasmid which was constructed to contain the enzymes geranyl pyrophosphate synthase (GPPS) and α-terpineol synthase (αTS). These enzymes convert the end products of the MEV pathway to α-terpineol. Preliminary results show that the system requires further optimization and troubleshooting to result in α-terpineol production.

APA Citations

Bicas, J. L., Barros, F. F. C., Wagner, R., Godoy, H. T., & Pastore, G. M. (2008, September 1). Optimization of r-(+)-α-terpineol production by the biotransformation of r-(+)-limonene. OUP Academic. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from

The Effectiveness of Botanical Extracts as Repellents Against Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes | AMNH. (2018, January 22). American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from

Khaleel, C., Tabanca, N., & Buchbauer, G. (2018, January 1). α-Terpineol, a natural monoterpene: A review of its biological properties. De Gruyter. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from

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Wright State University
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy.,
Dayton, OH 45435
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