Team:NU Kazakhstan

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Chromium is a well-known toxin and carcinogen with wide industrial use. Pollution with chromium is a serious environmental concern in Kazakhstan since it is the 2nd largest chromium manufacturer in the world. Chromium primarily exists in two redox forms: trivalent and hexavalent. The former is poorly soluble and less toxic compared to the latter form. Hexavalent chromium is bioavailable and readily crosses membranes through sulfate transporters. The goal of our project is to collect Cr(VI) from wastewater, reduce it to trivalent form and store inside the microalgae C. reinhardtii. We are introducing chromate reductase which converts Cr(VI) to Cr(III) and oligopeptide chromodulin which tightly binds 4 Cr(III) ions. To increase chromate uptake into the cell, we are exploiting natural ability of C. reinhardtii to upregulate sulfate channels when starved from sulfur. Our safety system is represented by photosensitizing protein SuperNova. It generates ROS when exposed to 585 nm wavelength of light.