< IGEM:Caltech | 2008 | Project
Background Information on Folate
Folate, the generic term for the various forms of Vitamin B9, is an essential vitamin because it is heavily involved in amino acid synthesis as well as single-carbon transfer reactions. Folate deficiencies in women can result in birth defects such as neural tube defects and other spinal cord malformations. As important as folate is, humans are unable to produce folate, and so must obtain it from eating foods such as green leafy vegetables or folate-fortified cereals (W. Sybesma 2003). An engineered strain of bacteria that would constantly release folate into the gut would reduce the need to fortify breads and cereals with folate, as well as reduce folate-related birth defects in regions with little access to folate-containing foods. In addition to all the reasons stated above, folate is an ideal vitamin to be produced in the gut because it has been shown to be absorbed in physiologically relevant quantities in the large intestine (Asrar and O’Connor 2005). This is not the case for many vitamins (Asrar and O’Connor 2005).
Folate Biosynthesis Pathway
Folate Detection Methods