EXPLOITING PSEUDOMONAS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF METHACRYLATE FOR THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY

Charlie Begley Theme: Cohort Year: 2018 Academic Partner: University of Strathclyde Industry Partner: Ingenza

Supervisor: Dr. Nick Tucker

Background:


Originally from the southwest of Ireland, I moved to Scotland to study Microbiology at the University
of Glasgow. For my honours project I had the opportunity to work on the development of
bacteriocin-expressing tomato plants, capable of defending themselves against specific,
economically relevant bacterial pathogens, opening my eyes to the vast potential of biotechnology.
I developed a keen interest in biotechnology and sustainability during this time and upon completion
of my undergraduate degree, I returned to the University of Glasgow to study an MSc in
Biotechnology. For my final research project, I worked on the functional regulation of proton
transporters in Arabidopsis and their role in plant physiology and defence against bacterial
pathogens.


Current Project:


While most of my lab projects pertained to plant pathology/physiology, I leapt at the opportunity to
combine my two research interests (biotechnology and sustainability) in a PhD project at the
University of Strathclyde. This BBSRC and IBioIC funded project is centred on the application of
Pseudomonas for the production of acrylic plastic platform chemicals from sustainable feedstocks:
currently, ~3000 kilotons of methacrylate esters are produced from unsustainable petrochemicals
annually. Collaborating with Ingenza Ltd., this project aims to exploit the solvent tolerant properties
of Pseudomonas to improve yields of microbially produced methacrylate esters, improving the
sustainability of acrylic plastic production.