27 Mar '14, 10pm
Here's an unexpected way to make artificial scents and flavorings
UC Davis researcher Shota Atsumi and his team detailed their work in the March 9 edition of Nature Chemical Biology . There, they describe how they altered living cells to use a class of enzymes called O-acetyltransferases to make esters from acyl-Coenzyme A (acyl-CoA) molecules. To do this, they introduced genes from yeast into E.coli bacteria and manipulated the Acyl-CoA pathway. By turning on certain potential metabolic pathways and shutting down others, they were able to make a complete ester and virtually hand-pick which type of molecule the bacteria produced.