Methane alarm

The concentration of methane in the coal mine is an important indicator which affects the life safety of miners. There should be alarm when the concentration of methane is between 1.0-1.5percent in the coal mine under the Chinese law. We aim to design a methane alarm for coal mine by methanotrophs, which consists of four parts: decomposition, sensor, signal tuner and output. Decomposition part takes in methane and conducts catalytic decomposition of methane to CO2 or assimilates methane as its own organic compounds. This function is the naturally exist in methanotrophs. Sensor senses the concentration of methane and produces activator A. As for signal tuner part, we plan to find a substance B which is sensitive to the concentration of activator A. Activator A and substance B combines to control the activity of substance C. Substance C acts as the switch of promoter--when the concentration of methane has been exceeded the alarm threshold, promoter will turn on. Output part will give the alarm by producing pigment of red lycopene when promoter is open. We plan to put methanotrophs on the miner lamp. When the bacteria produce pigment, the light through bacteria will turn out to be red.


1. "Biological Methane Oxidation: Regulation, Biochemistry, and Active Site Structure of Particulate Methane Monooxygenase"

2. "Importance of methane-oxidizing bacteria in the methane budget as revealed by the use of a specific inhibitor"