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Synthetic Biology underpins advances in the bioeconomy

Biological systems - including the simplest cells - exhibit a broad range of functions to thrive in their environment. Research in the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology is focused on the possibility of engineering the underlying biochemical processes to solve many of the challenges facing society, from healthcare to sustainable energy. In particular, we model, analyse, design and build biological and biochemical systems in living cells and/or in cell extracts, both exploring and enhancing the engineering potential of biology. 

As part of our research we develop novel methods to accelerate the celebrated Design-Build-Test-Learn synthetic biology cycle. As such research in the Centre for Synthetic Biology highly multi- and interdisciplinary covering computational modelling and machine learning approaches; automated platform development and genetic circuit engineering ; multi-cellular and multi-organismal interactions, including gene drive and genome engineering; metabolic engineering; in vitro/cell-free synthetic biology; engineered phages and directed evolution; and biomimetics, biomaterials and biological engineering.



BibTex format

author = {Perin, G and Yunus, IS and Valton, M and Alobwede, E and Jones, PR},
doi = {10.1016/j.algal.2019.101554},
journal = {Algal Research},
title = {Sunlight-driven recycling to increase nutrient use-efficiency in agriculture},
url = {},
volume = {41},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Humans unsustainably scavenge massive amounts of nutrients from the environment to feed our agricultural systems, thereby perturbing pre-existing natural re-cycling processes. Only a minor fraction of the nutrients are eventually taken up by crops and converted into food, while the majority runs-off into the environment, causing the release of greenhouse gases (e.g. emission of nitrous and nitrogen oxides from the soil) and threatening water security/biodiversity in several ecosystems. The estimated continued growth in global population in the 21st century is expected to place even greater pressure on nutrient use, with likely consequences for the sustainability of human society. Technologies that are able to balance the requirement for intensification of food production with a mitigation of its impact on the environment will be essential to deploy in the near future. The aim is to substantially increase nutrient use-efficiency in order to lower the pressure on finite resources and lighten the environmental impact of intensive agriculture. In this review, we will discuss one such technology, sunlight-driven prokaryotic and eukaryotic microalgae, as a vehicle for both capture and provision of nutrients leached from and provided to agricultural systems, respectively. This technology has the potential to make a difference, but it remains immature and we need to rapidly enhance our knowledge of its opportunities and challenges in order to exploit it for a sustainable circular nutrient economy.
AU - Perin,G
AU - Yunus,IS
AU - Valton,M
AU - Alobwede,E
AU - Jones,PR
DO - 10.1016/j.algal.2019.101554
PY - 2019///
SN - 2211-9264
TI - Sunlight-driven recycling to increase nutrient use-efficiency in agriculture
T2 - Algal Research
UR -
UR -
VL - 41
ER -