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iGEM Judging Comments

This year our team came up with a highly ambitious project and achieved goals in several different areas.

We successfully modelled, designed, characterised and submitted our IPTG-inducible Filamentous cells BioBrick part (BBa_K302012).

We also developed an e-Science Approach to Synthetic Biology which focuses on workflows in synthetic biology. This work led to the creation of BBF RFC 66.

We developed the Subtilin Immunity BioBrick, which provides immunity against the lantibiotic subtilin, a quorum sensing molecule for our cell population. Subtilin will help to initiate a population-wide response for concrete repair.

Our Urease BioBrick increases urea hydrolysis by increasing arginine and arginase production. Arginase breaks down arginine to form urea and ornithine. The overall increase in urea leads to an increase in urease production which hydrolyses urea into carbonate and ammonium ions which are exported out of the cell. The carbonate ions form a bond with calcium ions in the environment, resulting in the production of calcium carbonate.

Our Swarming BioBrick would help Bacillus subtilis 168 to swarm on the concrete surface by producing surfactin to reduce surface tension and by initiating flagellum biosynthesis.

Our Levan Glue BoBrick produces Levan glue in the presence of sucrose. The glue will act as a binding agent for the filamentous cells and the calcium carbonate crystals and will also help in filling up the crack thereby preventing corrosion of the steel reinforcements.

Our mazEF Kill switch is built around a stable toxin-antitoxin system for Bacillus subtilis. It would kill bacteria in the absence of sucrose thereby helping to make our project environmentally friendly.

In total we designed and entered 31 BioBrick parts in the parts registry.

We also took Scanning Electron Microscope photographs and found some interesting results: photographs of cells trying to fill up the crack, calcium carbonate crystals and Levan glue covering the cells.

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