3-succinoylpyridine (SP) is one of pyridine derivatives, which can be converted to mammals’ hypotensive agents (ω-heteroaroyl-(propionyl)-L-prolines). However, 3-succinoylpyridine is difficult to synthesize by chemical methods, and it’s expensive, which means it might not be suitable for industrial production. At the same time, SP is the metabolites of nicotine, degraded by Pseudomonas putida S16. So we considered to use nicotine to produce SP.

Nicotine is a form of alkaloid that is highly addictive and is comparable to heroin or cocaine. It can cause a range of health problems, such as increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, affecting brain development in the fetus and adolescents, and possibly promoting tumor growth. In tobacco waste, the nicotine content may be 0.6-5%, and the amount of nicotine is a considerable figure considering the total amount of tobacco waste (TW).

China is the world's largest cigarette manufacturer, producing over 2,000,000,000,000 cigarettes a year, accounting for about 40% of the world. Each of us has been exposed to cigarettes, or even one of smokers. We visited tobacco companies such as Hefei Cigarette Factory and learned about the production process of cigarettes and the treatment of tobacco waste (see Figure 1 and Figure 2). Modern factories use a mature assembly line to produce a large number of cigarettes. The tobacco leaves are collected, baked, cut into blocks, and then shredded into cigarettes. In the process, a large amount of tobacco waste is produced. In China, the production and sales of tobacco are strictly controlled by the government. Tobacco waste generated during the production process also needs to be collected strictly and transported to a specialized company for disposal. We learn that the main treatment methods of downstream companies are still based on incineration. Such a method is neither energy efficient nor environmentally friendly.

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Figure 1. Tobacco waste produced in cigarette factory

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Figure 2. Tobacco waste we got from the factory

Therefore, this year, our team is committed to produce useful prodrug 3-succinoylpyridine using tobacco waste by using a more environmentally friendly approach.

Our project is dedicated to degrading nicotine in tobacco waste and turning them into economically valuable chemical products. By constructing the system, we can produce 3-succinoyl-pyridine (SP) from tobacco waste.

We design 3 system: Sensing System, Regulation System and Degradation System to achieve our goal. Degradation System contain several enzymes to convert nicotine to 3-succionylpyridine. However, as we all know, expressing a large amount of protein continuously for a long time is toxic for bacteria, which will cause serious problems to bacteria’s growth. Therefore, we designed Sensing System and Regulation System to regulate enzymes’ expression, making sure that only after we add tobacco waste containing nicotine to the solution. So after uptaking nicotine, the bacteria will express Green fluorescent protein (GFP) and produce AHL and we can know there exists nicotine. AHL will be used in Regulation System to activate enzymes’ expression. With these 3 systems, we can produce SP from TW in an environmental-friendly pathway.


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