Canyon Crest Academy iGEM - Team HORIZON
Oil has long fueled our modern world, but unrefined crude oil contains dangerous compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or “PAHs.” Human contact with PAHs has been associated with the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and developmental toxicity, among others. Further, petrogenic PAHs have proven to be a detriment for the environment as well, with the potential to inflict lasting damage to entire ecosystems. Horizon intends to harness the natural ability of microorganisms to degrade PAHs and further catabolize them into nontoxic substances that can eventually be used in the bacterial metabolism. The engineered bacteria would then be implemented in a bioreactor system, optimized for bioremediation. In addition to further reducing the impact of PAHs and their byproducts, we aim to reuse the catabolic endproducts as clean energy. Our project offers a solution to the threat of oil spills and their toxic constituents by helping the planet work towards a cleaner horizon.