BMG LABTECH supports students with their participation in the 2017 iGEM competition
Ortenberg, Germany and Aylesbury, UK (September 2017) – BMG LABTECH, a leading manufacturer of microplate readers, is pleased to announce their continued involvement with iGEM projects, an international team competition open to students interested in synthetic biology. Many projects have been supported since 2009 and this year BMG LABTECH selected four Universities. Three were provided with microplate readers, the University of Dresden, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Cork. One further university, the University of Oxford was supported with extensive supply of consumables.
The four iGEM teams designed sophisticated projects that strive to create a positive contribution to their communities and the world. The project of the University of Dresden, Germany was to introduce Peptidosomes as a new fundamental approach for generating and applying encapsulated bacteria. “These spheres possess advantageous properties like stability in different media and a mesh-like structure that allows for the selective exchange of compounds via diffusion. Therefore, we are able to benefit from the entrapped cells’ abilities, while ensuring that they are not released into their surroundings. Using the powerful genetics of Bacillus subtilis and its secretory capabilities we demonstrate communication and cooperation between separately encapsulated bacterial populations as well as the environment. Peptidosomes can be further enhanced by incorporating magnetic or biological beads – which can be functionalized with proteins – into their peptide-based shell. With this unique setup, we provide a whole new universe of applications to the iGEM community”, explained Henri Deda, member of the iGEM team. “Our iGEM team uses the CLARIOstar® for multiple purposes as nearly all of our sub-projects involve its vast capabilities. Whether it's about proving the encapsulation of bacteria in Peptidosomes, discovering the functionality of biosensors or extracellular protein interactions - well scans, endpoint and constant measurements, we need it all! It’s great to experience at first-hand BMG LABTECH’s commitment to scientific education and their belief that our iGEM team is pushing synthetic biology to new levels”, said Henri.
The University of Glasgow, UK worked on their project named “Campylobanter: A biosensor device to detect Campylobacter”. The team designed a biosensor device to detect the presence of the food-borne bacterial pathogen Campylobacter. Campylobacter is one of the most prevalent causes of food poisoning worldwide. The students’ aim was to detect the bacterium by sensing a specific rare sugar molecule that is present in its cellular capsule. The team used the FLUOstar® Omega microplate reader for comparisons of expression from different plasmids during long term cell growth using fluorescent assays.
The project of the University of Cork, Ireland focused on the creation of Biosensors that detect antibiotics in milk and methanol in alcoholic beverages, if these contaminants are present, the engineered E. coli cells will produce GFP. “We have been using the BMG LABTECH FLUOstar Omega plate reader to determine how quickly the cells start to produce GFP after being induced. This was done using long term fluorescence and absorbance assays that would be very difficult to achieve using alternate plate readers available to us in the University. The use of the BMG LABTECH plate reader has facilitated this greatly by enabling us to incubate the cells while also carrying out the assay over long time periods. Without it, we could not have carried out these sorts of assays with measurements at such regular intervals. It also made experiments far easier and more convenient by enabling us to set up the plate reader and allow it to run, removing the need for us to manually take measurements at certain time points”, said Yensi Alejandra Flores Bueso.
The project at the University of Oxford, UK was to design a cell-free diagnosis kit to detect the presence of biomarkers specific to Trypansosoma cruzi, the protozoan parasite responsible for Chagas disease, a neglected tropical disease impacting 6-7 million people primarily in Latin America.The final diagnostic kit would allow Chagas disease to be diagnosed in the acute phase by preventing the clotting of a blood sample, by releasing hirudin (a peptide from leeches) upon cleavage by the protease cruzipain (a cysteine protease specific to T. cruzi). The team utilised two BMG LABTECH microplate readers, already installed in their laboratory. BMG LABTECH supported the team with a supply of microplates, training and application support.
The groups from all over the world ran their functional experiments throughout the summer 2017. All teams will come together at the Giant Jamboree in Boston in November to share their results and celebrate their hard work.
Picture 1: The iGEM team of the University of Dresden is working with a CLARIOstar microplate reader.
Picture 2: iGEM team of the University of Glasgow working with the FLUOstar Omega microplate reader.
Picture 3: The students of the iGEM team of the University of Cork in Ireland.