Our solution

Volatile monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes have been shown to be emitted from flowers and other aerial parts of the plant, and their release is often developmentally regulated or induced by damage.

Monoterpenes contain a 10-carbon backbone and are all synthesized from the common precursor geranyl diphosphate (GPP) by the action of various monoterpene synthases.

Taking advantage of the properties of these compounds (they smell and they can repel insects), our team has carried out a genetic engineering approach to obtain the gene responsible for the formation of the volatile monoterpene 1,8-cineole, a terpene synthase from Arabidopsis thaliana (able to repel some insects) and the S-linalool synthase gene from Clarkia breweri, responsible of the aroma. We inserted them inside yeast, so the repellent would always be expressed (constitutive expression) and the aroma would have induced expression, with activation depending on the addition of a specific substrate, in this case, cupper.