The foundations of life have necessitated the struggle in between life forms and nature. Since the inception of life, organisms have required homeostasis as a method of developing an independant structural integrity from nature to continue functioning as living beings. Functionally, organisms have had systems to establish such homeostetic mechanisms, but it can be seen that inner balance does not always provide the necessary conditions for life. Sometimes organisms must change the conditions of the environment that host them to adjust the conditions of the medium that has to sustain the conditions for the living. One of these basic conditions required is proper thermal conditions.
The Maintanence of Thermal Stability
Stability in temperature is an important factor in the life of all living beings, but surely constitutes much more significance in the life of mankind. Since the beginning of time, man has sought shelter from the dangers of nature but the biggest issue had always been temperature. With seasonal changes completely shifting the temperature in the environment that man tries so boldly to adapt, it was more than uncommon to have deaths due to extreme cold or burning hot. Sometimes, even appearingly standard conditions got the best of mankind.
Historically, human development had great focus on finding the right thermal conditions to live. The discovery of fire, the building of the first homes and cities were great steps to fight against the heat distress. Since these primitive but crucial advancements in human history, big steps have been taken. Perhaps one of the biggest such developments in human technology was refrigiration.
Refrigiration brought humanity the ability to preserve anything from the outside conditions. Initially developed for the preservation of food from cold, refrigiration slowly changed mankind’s limits against nature, opening the borders to frontiers man could have never imagined before. With the development of refrigiration, it was understood that there did exist effective ways to shift temperature and conserve it at desired levels. Since this foundation, industry and modern life has changed in many ways to better suit man’s needs in terms of heat conditions. These improvements have shown us that there is a future of thermoregulatory system that must be established.
The Future of Thermoregulatory Systems
The biggest issue concerning the future of thermoregulation systems is the method of practice. The methods of refrageration and heating are focused on the usage of either massive electrical circuits, high yield fossil fuels or inorganic processes slowly degenerating the balance of the nature that we try to inhabit. The inorganic byproducts that accumulate as an indirect result of heat regulatory systems are slowly decaying the world.
The heart of the problem lies in the massive industries that manipulate such systems and the common daily-life tools produced to manage temperature in daily application. The big stones that are set in this problem can only be moved by making a radical change in the procedures that the world follows. To solve the issue of heat regulation, the world has been pursuing inorganic solutions and as a result the world has been shifting from its natural organic structure to a distorted entity contaminated by the inorganic. The solution lies in an organic system to solve the issue.
Synthetic biology has the answer for this major issue. Through synthetic biology, it is possible to provide an organic solution. With synthetic biology, unlike the other organic systems proposed, it is possible to provide an effective solution optimized to conditions presented by the issues at hand. Our project was designed in the recognition of these facts present.
The Urease-Catalase Thermoregulatory System
In the search for an organic response, it is easy to recognize that biological devices have great importance in terms functionality and applicability. As such, urease-catalase is an enzymatic duo that can properly assess the issue of thermoregulation as a biological catalyst. Urease, which catalyzes the endothermic breakdown of urea, helps to resolve the problem of cooling in the environment whereas catalase, which catalyzes the exothermic breakdown of hydrogen peroxide, exists as the biological heater.
The selection of urease and catalase as the enzymes in question have several reasons. The two enzymes have high enzymatic activity levels, making them ideal as possible enzymes to utilize in the proposed process. The high activity levels of the enzymes require high levels of substrate to be present in the medium. Urease breakdowns urea - a simple and common molecule - that is the main excretory product used in many life forms, making urea easy to access. The same case applies for hydrogen peroxide that is degraded by catalase.
Designing A ‘Smart’ System
The developments in the last decade have shown the world the importance of smart systems. This recognition has also influenced studies in recombinant technology. Currently, many synthetic biology applications contain smart systems to regulate their functioning. Such a system will also be installed to the urease-catalase thermoregulator system in design.
We hope to create a system that will have the ability to function according to outside temperature. The system will function to produce the respective enzymes in the respective temperature conditions. Two systems will work inversely to cool when hot, and heat when cool to establish a circular heat flow to establish a static temperature in the environment.