The aim of this project is to develop a complete system that purifies pit water from heavy metals and making them accessible for reuse in the fabrication of new electronics. To achieve this goal, the chassis organism of synthetic biology, Escherichia coli, is modified by introducing specific uptake systems of heavy metal ions like Cu(II), Ag(I) and Au(I/III). One approach would be the use of the outer membrane porin OprC to accumulate copper ions in the periplasm. The direct uptake into the cytoplasm with HmtA might be an option too.
For effective accumulation numerous efflux system components can be removed by CRISPR Cas9 knockout of corresponding genes or by silencing genes with an inducible siRNA library and RNA-interference (RNAi).
Developing new enzymes for reducing bivalent metal ions on the basis of the mercury reductase MerA could be used to reduce the metal ions to nanoparticles (NP) of different size and shape. After the isolation of NP they can be used in the formulation of a special metallic ink for printing electronic tattoos using a modified inkjet printer. The electronic tattoos could be used to collect medical data over prolonged periods of time in a hospitals or home care setting.