Project details – Institut for Plante- og Miljøvidenskab - Københavns Universitet

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Synthetic biology to engineer high production of health-promoting bioactives in microorganisms

Main area:
Target group:Biology-Biotechnology, Agriculture, Natural Resources
Educational level:Master, Bachelor, Project outside course scope
Project description:

We need to eat ~1 kg of broccoli pr. week to get the health benefits of broccoli. This has primed a desire to engineer microbial production of the bioactives as dietary supplements.


Our goal is to engineer the health-promoting, bioactive compound glucosinolates from cruciferous vegetables into microorganisms. This will enable a stable rich source and thereby by enabling intake of well-defined doses. We are using state-of-the-art synthetic biology tools

Toward this goal we have several projects:

1)   Boosting levels of precursors and co-factors

2)   Transport engineering to prevent premature export of the intermediates

3)   Increase of flux through the pathway by elimination of bottlenecks

4)   Transport engineering to ensure efficient export to prevent feedback inhibition


We expect you to be enthusiastic, dedicated and eager to learn and advance your research skills as well as oral and written presentation skills. In return, we provide a stimulating, international research environment.

If this has your interest, please send cv and exam grades to:
Prof. Barbara Halkier, DynaMo Center of Excellence, PLEN,

Methods used:Bioinformatics on ‘omics data, mining of databases, expression and characterization of enzymes/transporters, construction of multigene cassettes, engineering in multiple host organisms (tobacco, yeast, E. coli), analytical chemistry using LC-MS. ,
Keywords:Synthetic biology, Plant biosynthetic pathways, Microorganisms, Pathway, Transport engineering
Project home page:
Supervisor(s): Barbara Ann Halkier