Welcome to iGEM 2020

Mars-PhD: decrease Mars soil pH with Deinococcus radiodurans

Phosphorus is an essential element for plants. Martian soil, while rich in phosphorus, is still unable to sustain a growing plant because the insoluble phosphorus cannot be absorbed directly by plants. Some microorganisms can secrete organic acids, decrease pH and promote dissolution of insoluble phosphates. Considering the higher radiation level on Mars, in this project we choose Deinococcus radiodurans (DR) as our chassis organism. We transformed DR by cloning gcd gene from Escherichia coli to promote dissolution of insoluble phosphates. Glucose dehydrogenase (GDH) and Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) synthesized in DR form holoenzyme to realize the conversion of glucose into gluconic acid. To improve efficiency, we also transformed a synthesized gabY gene into DR to promote the binding between GDH and PQQ to increase the activity of GDH. We hope to provide new solutions to transform martian soil and explore the possibility of growing crops on Mars.