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iGem SDSZ_China 2018
Thus it led us think of the promising biotechnology treatment by using chitin-active enzymes classified from nature to produce chitosan. The only by-product is acetic acid, which is far less harmful to environment than concentrated acid and alkali.
There are two kinds of active enzymes found in creatures that are related to the transformation of chitin. Chitinase is able to hydrolyze chitin yielding monomers. Chitin deacetylase (known as CDA) could hydrolyze the acetylamino group on chitin, directly yielding chitosan. Our research focused more on CDA.
But the problem is that available source of chitin and currently examined CDAs are unmatched. The only industrial-available source of chitin is the especially high-crystallized chitin from shrimps and crab shells. As reported, CDA has been found in bacteria, molds and insects, but the examined ones are all inactive toward crystallized chitin. This is the reason why enzymolysis is not widely used in chitosan industry.
Thus, separation, identification, and production of crystal-chitin-active-enzymes are crucial to solving this problem, hence accelerate the industrialization of environmental-friendly chitosan production considerably, and give instruction to research on arthropodic ecdysis and aquacultural production.
So we planned to obtain the genes of creatures who can produce CDA, and then overlap the gene of CDA, the gene of chitinase, and the gene of a protein that can combine with chitin, whose main function is to accelerate the reaction. Then we would let the competent cells translate these genes into proteins together and react spontaneously. Once target protein shows up, we would then cultivate the bacteria, measure the liveliness of the synthesized enzyme, and determined maximum yield rate.
The goal we want to achieve is to maximize the range of chitin’s mass we could break down, the production rate, and the purity of chitosan.