We are engineering Bacillus subtilis to enhance its ability to produce precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) in different crystal structures.

We aim to apply our bacteria to a novel method of 3D printing specific shapes and crystal structures, allowing for a variety of applications.

Our first proof-of-principle application will aim to use our bacteria to produce custom calcium carbonate backbones to promote coral regrowth in affected areas. As our production method does not require the use of pollutant fuels we will also indirectly reduce the production of toxic compounds including sulphur and nitrous oxides.

Current precipitated calcium carbonate production methods rely heavily on the use of fossil fuels to form the initial calcium oxide. The burning of such fuels results in the release of large volumes of green house gases including carbon dioxide. CalcifEXE aims to produce PCC without the need for fuels. Our engineered bacteria are also capable of utilising atmospheric carbon to aid the precipitation process.

Current precipitation methods require a source of geological limestone thus limiting it's application in certain parts of the globe. Currently, this can only be counteracted through transport. CalcifEXE has the ability to produce PCC in areas with no natural limestone.

Exeter iGEM 2020

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