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Outline of MIT syn bio tea talk

1) Applications of syn bio to space

photosynthetic Chassis Choice


Research Article The Genome of the Diatom Thalassiosira Pseudonana: Ecology, Evolution, and Metabolism

Fuels for space

  • Notes from speaking to David Thompson
  • Oxygen - O2 as byproduct of photosynthesis
  • Hydrogen - via the biohydrogen route
  • nitrogenase, the enzyme that fixes N2 to NH3(amonia)ozene

, as a normal part of its function it produces H2 albeit at a much slower rate than NH3, its a side reaction. but if you force the reaction in an atmosphere with zero nitrogen, then you get H2 production exclusively. (Hydrogen-2, H-2, 2H (a.k.a. Deuterium), an isotope of Hydrogen (1 proton, 1 neutron, 1 electron))


  • Deep sea bacteria that make hydrazine as a free metabolic intermediate. (Hydrazine is used as a bipropellant in combination with O2 I (DT) believe,and some of its derivatives are used in combination with other liquid rocket fuels...) is a resource for research on those particular bacteria.


A strongly alkaline crystalline compound, NHC(NH2)2, formed by the oxidation of guanine and found in the urine as a normal product of protein metabolism. It is commonly used in the organic synthesis of plastics, resins, and explosives. ( Guanine production was hypothetical, it would involve tweaking the purine biosynthetic pathway, and i think i mentioned a purine efflux pump...

making TAL for TATB production was from this paper


ammonia, formaldehyde --> hexamine (fireproofing, plastics) --> hexogen/RDX

toluene, sulfuric acid, nitric acid --> trinitrotoluene

acetone, sulfuric acid, hydrogen peroxide --> acetone Peroxide/TATP

guanine --> nitroguanidine

malonyl-CoA --> triacetic acid lactone --> LCD's

side product is phloroglucinol (can make adhesives)

ammonia, formaldehyde