Collaborations with other teams

About smoking.

World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)[1], approved by the World Health Assembly on May 21, 2003, calling on all countries to conduct the widest possible international cooperation to control the widespread epidemic of tobacco

1. Laws and regulations:

China officially joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on August 28, 2005. On May 1, 2010, China officially implemented a smoking ban in Beijing, which stipulates that 10 categories of restaurants, Internet cafes and gymnasiums will completely ban somking[2]. December 29, 2013, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has required leading cadres at all levels to abide by the smoking ban regulations in public places and to set an example with practical actions. On November 24, 2014, China first proposed to Formulate administrative regulations to comprehensively control tobacco across the country...

2. China's tobacco control situation goes further:

For example: "The first case of smoke-free lawsuits in domestic public places" (2018)[3] Activity review: In June 2017, when college student Li took the K1301 train, she found passengers even train attendants smoking on the train. So she took the Harbin Railway bureau to court. On June 25, 2018, the Beijing Railway Transport Court made a first-instance judgment, and it was illegal to set up a smoking area on the train. The Harbin Railway Bureau requested that the smoking items on the K1301 train be dismantled within 30 days . On the first day of the effective date of the judgment, at 10:15 am, the K1301 train became the first ordinary train that formally completely bansmokingonit.

3. In addition, we also asked a question_Why do Chinese women get lung cancer without smoking?

Compared with the United States and China, there is a very strange phenomenon: about 85% of American women with lung cancer are smokers, while in China, more than 80% of female lung cancer patients never smoke![4] In addition to smoking, what other external factors can cause lung cancer? In fact, the most easy to think of is secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is a clear carcinogen. China is the country with the worst problem of secondhand smoke in the world! Active smoking and “secondhand smoke” are the main reasons for the rapid growth of lung cancer in women. More than a dozen studies have confirmed that exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with lung cancer, and non-smoking women who marry smoking husbands have a higher risk of lung cancer. More than 700 million women and children in China, at home and in public places, are long-term victims of second-hand smoke. From this, we thought that perhaps we can use the knowledge of synthetic biology to contribute to the reduction of second-hand smoke.

4.second-hand smoke:

The main hazards of second-hand smoke are tar, ammonia, nicotine, aerosols, PM2.5, strontium-210 and other more than 4,000 kinds of harmful chemicals and dozens of carcinogens. Nicotine is the addictive substances of them.

[1] [2] [3] [4]



Nicotine, alias nicotine, is a natural alkaloid. It is widely found in eggplant plants and is an important component of tobacco plants. 【1】 Nicotine is found in the leaves of Nicotiana rustica, in concentrations of 2–14%; in the tobacco plant, Nicotiana tabacum; in Duboisia hopwoodii; and in Asclepias syriaca. 【2】The chemical name for nicotine is 1-methyl2-3-(pyridine) -tetrahydropyrrolidine, and whose molecular formula isC10H14N2 with molecular weight of 162.23 g / mol. Alongside strong volatility, special spicy and deliquescent, purified nicotine is colorless or yellowish transparent oily liquid at room temperature. And it is easily to be oxidized to the appearance of dark gray in sunshine【15】. The density is 1.0097g / ml at 20 ℃ and the boiling point is 274.5 ℃ at 760mmHg. Nicotine is weak alkaline, when temperature is below 60 ℃, it can dissolve with water in any proportion, and it is easy to dissolve in alcohol, ether, gas imitating and so on. It is also a natural chiral compound with optical rotation and two optical isomers of (S) and (R). Nicotine in nature is mainly (S)-type.

Beyond addiction, both short and long-term nicotine exposure have not been established as dangerous to adults, 【9】 except among certain vulnerable groups. 【10】 Nicotine is linked to possible birth defects. 【13】 During pregnancy, there are risks to the child later in life for type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, neurobehavioral defects, respiratory dysfunction, and infertility. 【12】Nicotine in the form of nicotine replacement products poses less of a cancer risk than smoking. 【11】 The use of electronic cigarettes, which are designed to be refilled with nicotine-containing e-liquid, has raised concerns over nicotine overdoses, especially with regard to the possibility of young children ingesting the liquids. 【14】At sufficiently high doses, nicotine is associated with poisonings and is potentially lethal. 【7、11】 Nicotine as a tool for quitting smoking has a good safety history. 【12】 There is inadequate research to show that nicotine itself is associated with cancer in humans.【11】However, it has been reported that nicotine is nitrided during smoking. The production of N- nitrosamine (TSNA), which is unique to tobacco, can lead to lung cancer, (Davis et al., 2003), posing a serious threat to human health.

In addition to active smoking, passive smoking is also an important channel for nicotine to enter the human body. Secondhand smoke or even three-handed smoke is a threat that cannot be ignored in the environment. 【16、17、18、19】According to statistics, about 740 million people are also affected by second-hand smoke. 【36】

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR), which mainly acts on nicotine in the central nervous system. 【20】In addition to nicotine itself, NNK ([4- (methylnitrosamino)-1- (3-pyridyl) -1-butanone] ) and NNN (N'-nitrosonor nicotine), two specific metabolites of nicotine in organisms, also bind to nAChR, which is the main cause of addiction to smoking. 【21】The nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the central nervous system, when stimulated, exhibit adverse effects in many types of tissues, such as epidermal / oral keratinocytes, endothelial cells, and many types of cells in the digestive system, Lung immune system, etc. 【22】Long-term nicotine exposure is therefore highly likely to increase the risk of cancer, especially lung cancer. 【17、23、24】Studies by Hawkins et al. have shown that nicotine can easily penetrate most biofilms, including blood-brain barriers, and its effects on animals and humans are mainly manifested as increased pulse, increased blood pressure, and increased free fatty acids on cell membranes, activation of blood glucose and increase of catechin in blood. 【25、26】 Heeschen et al. Suggest that moderate smoking can lead to increased plasma concentrations in blood vessels, accompanied by an increase in the incidence of many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, macular disease and rheumatoid arthritis. 【27】Based on children epidemiological studies of overweight and obese mothers smoking during pregnancy and exposure to embryonic development in laboratory animals, Oken et al. suggest that smoking can lead to obesity. 【28】

To sum up, nicotine has adverse effects on multiple tissues or organs and is a major threat to human health.


There are ten thousand tons of tobacco-leave waste in China every year, and the nicotine content of the waste is as high as 18tg/kg (dry weight), which is 36 times higher than the European Union's "toxic and hazardous waste" control standard, which will pose a serious threat to the safety of groundwater in our country. 【29】In recent years, the production and extensive use of new nicotine pesticides have become another important source of nicotine pollution in the environment. This kind of pesticide, which is represented by Imidacloprid, has been widely used in the prevention and control of fruit trees and vegetable pests because of its novel way of action, strong toxicity, high efficiency, broad spectrum, contact and stomach toxicity and so on. 【30、31】 At present, the widely used nicotinic insecticides in the world are imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, thiacloprid, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, nitenpyram and so on.【32、33】Although tobacco reducing pesticide has many advantages in low toxicity and high efficiency, it has toxic side effects on non-dry target freshwater insects and crustaceans. 【34】The aquatic ecological safety of this kind of pesticide is worthy of attention. 【35】

Therefore, reducing nicotine content in tobacco and environment plays an important role in both human and environment.


Microbes, with its wide variety, wide distribution, rapid propagation, strong metabolic activity and strong adaptability, have attracted wide attention from biological workers. Scholars at home and abroad have begun to focus on the use of microbes to degrade nicotine, and microbial degradation of nicotine is more economical, higher, and more sustainable than the physical and chemical methods.

There are many biodegradable nicotine microorganisms in tobacco plants and their soils, some of which can grow with nicotine as the sole carbon source, nitrogen source and energy source. 【37、38】 Since the 1940s, a variety of nicotine-degrading strains have been isolated and identified. Most of the nicotine degrading microorganisms found so far belong to Pseudomonas and Arthrobacter. 【39】

Etc. (The small number on the map is the literature, if you want to find the "Molecular mechanism research of Pseudomonas degrading nicotine" for details)

Pathway study on microbial metabolism of nicotine

There are three pathways for microbial catabolism of nicotine: pyridine pathway, pyrrole pathway and pyridine-pyrrole heterozygote pathway.


【1】Doolittle, D. J., Winegar, R., Lee, C. K., etc. The genotoxic potential of nicotine and its major metabolites [J]. Mutat. Res., 1995, 344 (3): 95-102. 【2】 Robert L. Metcalf (2007), "Insect Control", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry (7th ed.), Wiley, p. 9 【3】 Grana, R; Benowitz, N; Glantz, SA (13 May 2014). "E-cigarettes: a scientific review". Circulation. 129 (19): 1972–86. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.114.007667. PMC 4018182  . PMID 24821826. 【4】 Holbrook, Bradley D. (2016). "The effects of nicotine on human fetal development". Birth Defects Research Part C: Embryo Today: Reviews. 108 (2): 181–92. doi:10.1002/bdrc.21128. ISSN 1542-975X. PMID 27297020. 【5】 "Nicotine (PIM)". Retrieved 2012-12-19. 【6】Genetic Science Learning Center. "How Drugs Can Kill".

【8】Caponnetto, Pasquale; Campagna, Davide; Papale, Gabriella; Russo, Cristina; Polosa, Riccardo (2012). "The emerging phenomenon of electronic cigarettes". Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine. 6 (1): 63–74. doi:10.1586/ers.11.92. ISSN 1747-6348. PMID 22283580.

【9】Dinakar C, O'Connor GT (2016). "The Health Effects of Electronic Cigarettes". NEJM. 375: 1372–1381. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1502466. PMID 27705269.

【10】Andrade, Marisa; Hastings, Gerald. "Tobacco Harm Reduction and Nicotine Containing Products" . Cancer Research UK. Cancer Research UK. p. 8. Retrieved 10 March 2016.

【11】"The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, Chapter 5 - Nicotine" . Surgeon General of the United States. 2014. pp. 107–138. PMID 24455788.

【12】 Schraufnagel, Dean E.; Blasi, Francesco; Drummond, M. Bradley; Lam, David C. L.; Latif, Ehsan; Rosen, Mark J.; Sansores, Raul; Van Zyl-Smit, Richard (2014). "Electronic Cigarettes. A Position Statement of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 190 (6): 611–618. doi:10.1164/rccm.201407-1198PP. ISSN 1073-449X. PMID 25006874.

【13】 Jerry JM, Collins GB, Streem D (2015). "E-cigarettes: Safe to recommend to patients?". Cleve Clin J Med. 82 (8): 521–6. doi:10.3949/ccjm.82a.14054 (inactive 2017-01-20). PMID 26270431. Nicotine plays a direct role in carcinogenesis through a variety of mechanisms, including increasing the activity of tumor growth-promoting transcription factors, decreasing apoptosis, and increasing angiogenesis in tumors. Additionally, specific types of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors— eg, alpha 7 receptors, which are stimulated by nicotine—are found in many malignant tumors and are thought to play a role in tumor progression.12 Blockade of alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors has been shown to decrease the growth of certain cancers. However, these findings were from in vitro studies, and the concerns they raised have not been reflected in in vivo studies. Despite having been on the market for 30 years, nicotine replacement therapy has as yet not been associated with any “real world” increase in cancer risk

【14】McNeill, A, SC (2015). "E - cigarettes: an evidence update A report commissioned by Public Health England". UK: Public Health England. p. 63–64. Retrieved 20 August 2015.

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【26】Lemay S, Chouinard S, Blanchet P, et al. Lack of efficacy of a nicotine transdermal treatment on motor and cognitive deficits in Parkinson's disease [J].Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 2004,28 (1): 31-39.

【27】Heeschen C, Jang J J, Weis M, et al. Nicotine stimulates angiogenesis and promotes tumor growth and atheroselerosis[J].Nature Medicine, 2001, 7 (7): 833-839.

【28】Oken E, Huh S Y Taveras E M, et al. Associations of maternal prenatal smoking with child adiposity and blood pressure [J]. Obesity research, 2005, 13(11): 2021-2028

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【36】《China's smoking hazard health report》,2012

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【38】 Li, H., Li, X., Duan, Y., etc. Biotransformation of nicotine by microorganism: the case of Pseudomonas spp [J]. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol., 2010, 86 (1):11一17.

【39】Wang, H., Yin, B., Peng, X., etc. Biodegradation of nicotine by newly isolated Pseudomonas sp. CS3 and its metabolites [J]. J. Appl. Microbiol., 2012, 112 (2): 2_58-268.

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