Manipulation of Phytohormonal Production by Methylobacterium extorquens

TerraVerdae Bioworks is working with a type of bacteria that is able to metabolize methanol, converting it into a bioplastic. TerraVerdae is focusing its commercial operations on bioplastic production but is interested in identifying other bioproducts that can also be produced. It is known that this type of bacteria forms a symbiotic relationship with plants, where it feeds off of waste methanol produced by plant cells, converting it into metabolites that help the plant grow. Through this internship, we would like to measure the production of two plant hormones, an auxin and a cytokinin, by TerraVerdae's bacterial strain. We also intend to explore whether we can increase the production of these hormones by genetically manipulating the expression of two genes that we have targeted. Finally, given that nitrogen is known to influence bioplastic production by the bacteria, we would like to determine how manipulating the amount of nitrogen made available to the bacteria affects hormonal production.

Ryan McKenzie
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Michael Deyholos