May 8, 2007

Anti-terror beer yeast

Posted in Biology, Education, Life, Nature, Science, Technology at 10:34 am by deadlikeme

yeast.jpgSaccharomyces cerevisiae has been genetically altered to “sniff” for explosives.

Danny Dhanasekaran and his team (Temple University in Philadelphia) have engineered yeast cells to “express mammalian olfactory receptors and the related signaling pathway, such that cells turned green in response to an odorant“.

The genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as baker’s or brewer’s yeast, has been enhanced with a rat gene (olfactory receptor Olfr226) so that the yeast cells react to molecules of 2, 4 Dinitrotoluene (DNT). DNT is a residue from the making of the Trinitrotoluene (TNT). It is believed that dogs who are trained to sniff for explosives in fact respond to DNT molecules.

Maybe one day we can also use beer-yeast-biosensors to detect biological and chemical weapons, who knows?

Original article published in Nature Chemical Biology

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