Research performed in the last 50 years or so has forced humanity to reconsider its gluttonous appetite for petrol based products and energy. The effects of this "appetite" have been profound, scientifically undeniable, and perhaps the biggest threat humanity has faced.
The answer: synthetic biology. Like any emerging field, synthetic biology is experiencing an explosion of novel methods and ideas. We have focused our efforts on altering the metabolic process of the archaea Thermococcus kodakarensis to produce the well-known terpenoid, limonene. Limonene is of great interest due to its myriad of industrial uses, including biofuels and plastics. Usage of an archaeal organism's mevalonate pathway allows for a simple incursion of one extra enzyme (limonene synthase) to convert GPP into limonene. Gas chromatography and western blot methods were used to quantify limonene concentration and detect gene expression respectively, in the altered T. kodakarensis. Limonene shows great potential for the future of energy and plastics, and archaea could be the key.