AchievementsOur BioBrickBeadsLab WorkImprovementsSafety



Despite having an extremely small wet lab team (only two members) we believe we've achieved a lot this year. We've come from our initial ideas stage in July, to possessing a fully functional prototype product, good enough to catch commercial attention by the end of October. Alongside this, we've also helped better characterise a pre-existing BioBrick.

Below is a brief summary of our biggest achievements

A Well Characterised New BioBrick

Graph 1: BBa_K381001 characterisation

The focal point of our wetlab work was the construction and characterisation of a new BioBrick BBa_K381001. This part is a composite of two pre-existing BioBricks, with details of its design available here.

As shown in graph 1, we mapped its behaviour across the range where it was known to be most sensitive, further details of which can be found here.

We're proud of this part, and hope it will be useful to other teams in the future.

Elegant Solution to Signal Calibration

Graph 2: Characterising our ratio method

As well as making our BioBrick, we also worked further to develop a product that would actually function. As part of this we altered the traditional signal detection method of measuring output to remove the problem of misleading figures. Our new method of instead detecting the ratio of two outputs removes difficulties in distinguishing between large signals due to high Nitrate levels and those due simply to large colonies.

As is evident in graph 2, we well characterised this method and found it to work well, particularly within the range relevant to our project. Our results were even good enough to allow the construction of a formula linking signals detected to levels in the soil.

For more information on how the ratio method works and our results from it, click here

Novel Use of Cell Encapsulation

Our new beads

In what we believe is a first in iGEM, we used technology to both allow safe use of our E. coli in the public and environment dramatically improve signal detection.

Our Bead encapsulation method ensures a stronger signal that can actually be detected by our end user (farmers) without high tech equipment. It also reduces the risk of our bacteria escaping unchecked in the environment, and assisted in our human practices side of the project; making our product more appealing to the public.

For more information on how the beads work and how they can be made, click here. We hope the resources and data we've provided will encourage other iGEM teams to pursue this method in the future.

Characterising A Pre-Existing BioBrick

Graph 3: Miller assay results

As well as developing our own BioBrick, we also worked to better characterise one already in the parts registry BBa_K216005. Graph 3 shows just one of many Miller assays we conducted to analyse its performance, more of which can be found here.