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iGEM 2008

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Vitamin production

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 [1]. 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, unlike many other vitamins, it has been shown to be absorbed in physiologically relevant quantities in the large intestine[2].

Why Folate?

Folate Biosynthesis Pathway

System Design

Folate Detection Methods


  1. Sybesma W, Burgess C, Starrenburg M, van Sinderen D, and Hugenholtz J. . pmid:15113564. PubMed HubMed [sybesma1]
  2. Asrar FM and O'Connor DL. . pmid:16081276. PubMed HubMed [asrar]
  3. Bernstein JR, Bulter T, and Liao JC. . pmid:18396082. PubMed HubMed [bernstein]
  4. Camilo E, Zimmerman J, Mason JB, Golner B, Russell R, Selhub J, and Rosenberg IH. . pmid:8613033. PubMed HubMed [camilo]
  5. Bermingham A and Derrick JP. . pmid:12111724. PubMed HubMed [bermingham]
  6. Gabelli SB, Bianchet MA, Xu W, Dunn CA, Niu ZD, Amzel LM, and Bessman MJ. . pmid:17698004. PubMed HubMed [gabelli]
  7. Sybesma W, Starrenburg M, Kleerebezem M, Mierau I, de Vos WM, and Hugenholtz J. . pmid:12788700. PubMed HubMed [sybesma2]
  8. Sheng H, Knecht HJ, Kudva IT, and Hovde CJ. . pmid:16885287. PubMed HubMed [sheng]
  9. Morita M, Asami K, Tanji Y, and Unno H. . pmid:11386882. PubMed HubMed [morita]
  10. Yun J, Park J, Park N, Kang S, and Ryu S. . pmid:18051328. PubMed HubMed [yun]
  11. Zhu T, Pan Z, Domagalski N, Koepsel R, Ataai MM, and Domach MM. . pmid:16269750. PubMed HubMed [zhu]
  12. Wegkamp A, Starrenburg M, de Vos WM, Hugenholtz J, and Sybesma W. . pmid:15128580. PubMed HubMed [wegkamp1]
  13. Wegkamp A, van Oorschot W, de Vos WM, and Smid EJ. . pmid:17308179. PubMed HubMed [wegkamp2]
All Medline abstracts: PubMed HubMed
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