Answered Jul 31, 2019
You wouldn’t necessarily “make” microbes that can do this.
There is at least one species of fungus that can break down certain types of plastic to use for food.
However, there are various problems. Some of which are biological, and some are physical.
The “plastic-eating fungus” uses enzymes called esterases, which will only work on certain classes of polymers that are structured a certain way.
Also, a chunk of plastic will only be vulnerable to reactions on its surface, which might take a long time to eat all the way through. Plus, if I recall correctly, there is a physics thing called “water activity”, which is necessary for the enzymes to work, but is going on at very low levels on the surface of the plastic (even with the fungus and/or enzymes present).
Attempting to insert the enzyme gene into bacteria for mass production has various biological problems, including protein folding, toxicity to the bacteria, etc.
Answered Oct 25
Carbohydrates and lipids are all CHO, which includes Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen. These can be in different proportions, depending on the specific molecule.
Amino acids, by definition, have an amine group, which includes a Nitrogen. They all have an N on their backbone, and some have an N on the side chain. Cysteine and Methionine have a Sulfur on the side chain.
A few enzymes use an amino acid with Selenium instead of Sulfur.
Answered Dec 20, 2017
Thanks for the A2A.
On YouTube (or the internet in general), there isn’t just one single resource that I can recommend.
However, I have a page of links for science students (of all levels) at:
Links For Science Students
Please excuse the formatting, as I still need to work on that. However, these are the best links that I have found so far, and are somewhat categorised by field of study, with a few comments.
This page will improve in the near future, but generally, these are the links that I have appreciated, for biology, biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, and , of course, microbiology.
Answered Dec 15, 2017
Thanks for the A2A.
The answer is “no”, because photosynthesis is about using the energy from sunlight, to help use carbon dioxide as a building-block to put together sugar molecules, which are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Those sugars function as energy storage (which is how plants survive every night), and also as building material, which is how plants grow new stems, leaves, etc.
Some bacteria can do photosynthesis for sugar-assembly, but there are many other essential nutrients.
If the organism has the necessary enzymes, they can use certain “carbon skeletons” (including acetyl-CoA and Krebs cycle intermediates) as building blocks for lipids and part of amino acids.
However, it still needs to get certain other, vital things from the environment (which cannot be generated by photosynthesis, either by bacteria or by plants).
It needs things like:
Those need to be obtained from the environment, which can be anything from the jelly-like medium in a petri dish, based on various recipes, by microbiologists (ahem), to just the regular, random soil in your backyard (different places support different microbes).
Another commentator seemed to interpret your question as being about food for humans. And the answer on that is “no”, because your food needs to get the above-listed nutrients from someplace that isn’t just photosynthesis.
Answered Dec 13, 2017
Sure, you can use certain chemicals to cause genetic mutations.
The catch is that, the mutations will be totally random, and you cannot direct it to any particular part of the genome.
You could randomly disable important genes, by causing a SNP or a frameshift error, and kill the microbe.
The keyword is, “random”.
Answered Dec 12, 2017
Don’t worry too much, but, yes, you need to take some chemistry.
After all, microbes (and people) are basically bags of chemicals getting into structures, and having some reactions.
Everything is made out of chemicals.
You don’t need to know anywhere near as much as someone who is actually majoring in chemistry.
I took significantly more chemistry and biochemistry than was required, and still survived (just barely in couple of cases).