Title

Human Hair Clippings: Potential Energy of the Future

Presenter Information

Hannah Kim

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Biological Sciences

Research Advisor

Westenberg, David J.
Shannon, Katie

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Human hair clippings can be utilized in various ways: wigs, plant fertilizer, hair boom, and clay reinforcement. However, majority of the human hair clippings are dumped without being used. Hair is a protein filament that are made of tough protein called Alpha-Keratin. Its toughness comes from the disulfide bonds created between cysteines, major amino acid composing Keratin. Due to its strong covalent disulfide bridges, Alpha-Keratin can take more than 100 years to break down, depending on what bacterial or chemical environment Keratin is exposed to. Research has been shown that some Bacillus Subtilis strain have the ability to hydrolyze Alpha-Keratin. Nonetheless, as Alpha-Keratin has numerous disulfide bonds, its hydrolysis efficiency is fairly low. Hence, to improve the Alpha-Keratin hydrolysis efficiency, I propose equipping Keratinase gene sequences into well-understood B.Subtillis chassis with a use of synthetic biology. Later, Keratin hydrolysate, amino acids, can be applied to run MFC for power generation.

Biography

Hannah is a senior majoring in Biological Science at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Her research interest includes genetics combined with microbiology and stem cell biology. She plans on going to graduate school to continue her education.

Research Category

Research Proposals

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Presentation Date

11 Apr 2016, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Apr 11th, 1:00 PM Apr 11th, 3:00 PM

Human Hair Clippings: Potential Energy of the Future

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Human hair clippings can be utilized in various ways: wigs, plant fertilizer, hair boom, and clay reinforcement. However, majority of the human hair clippings are dumped without being used. Hair is a protein filament that are made of tough protein called Alpha-Keratin. Its toughness comes from the disulfide bonds created between cysteines, major amino acid composing Keratin. Due to its strong covalent disulfide bridges, Alpha-Keratin can take more than 100 years to break down, depending on what bacterial or chemical environment Keratin is exposed to. Research has been shown that some Bacillus Subtilis strain have the ability to hydrolyze Alpha-Keratin. Nonetheless, as Alpha-Keratin has numerous disulfide bonds, its hydrolysis efficiency is fairly low. Hence, to improve the Alpha-Keratin hydrolysis efficiency, I propose equipping Keratinase gene sequences into well-understood B.Subtillis chassis with a use of synthetic biology. Later, Keratin hydrolysate, amino acids, can be applied to run MFC for power generation.