Team:University College London

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<div id="slidebox"><div id="bottle0"></div><div id="bottle1"></div><div id="bottle2"></div><div id="bottle3"></div><div id="slide1"><a id="label1">What are we doing, exactly?</a><a id="label2">Who are we?</a><a id="label3">Where is it located?</a><a id="label4">How are we going to achieve this?</a><a id="label5" href="http://www.plasticrepublic.org" target="_blank">Purchase Your Land Here</a>
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= UCL iGEM 2012 =
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==Welcome to the UCL entry for iGEM 2012.==
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<div id="newtoigembutton">[[Team:University_College_London/NewToIGEM|New to iGEM? Start our wiki tour here!]]</div>
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[[Team:University_College_London/NewToIGEM|<div id="newtoigembutton">New to iGEM? Start our wiki tour here!</div>]]
 
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==Welcome to the UCL 2012 iGEM project.==
 
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This is a wiki-in-progress, keep checking back for updated content and project news.
 
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==What is this iGEM I keep hearing about and why is it so great?==
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UCL iGEM proposes a synthetic biology approach for the bioremediation of micro-plastic pollutants within the marine environment, with emphasis on regions of excessive debris accumulation, such as the North Pacific ‘garbage patch’.  
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The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at their own schools over the summer, they use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. This project design and competition format is an exceptionally motivating and effective teaching method (from the iGEM website)
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We intend to engineer enhanced adhesive properties in ''Escherichia coli'' and marine bacteria ''Roseobacter denitrifican'' and ''Oceanibulbus indolifex'', of the ''Roseobacter'' clade. To alter the composition and dynamics of resultant biofilms for the adhesion of micro-plastic pollutants, with an extended vision of creating mass aggregates, or ‘Plastic Islands’.
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We will attempt to demonstrate micro-plastic particle aggregation and several additional genetic components, including plastic degradation, salinity/osmotic tolerance in ''E. coli'', bacterial buoyancy and novel active biological containment strategies, for an integrative approach to marine bioremediation.
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'''''Update:''''' Read about Plastic Republic on <html><a href="http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-07/18/nanobots-recycling-plastic" title="Article" target="_blank">Wired</a>, <a href="http://dvice.com/archives/2012/07/students-synthe.php" title="Article" target="_blank">DVICE</a></html> and  <html><a href="http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2012/07/synthetic-bacteria-could-turn-ocean-garbage-into-one-big-island/" title="Article" target="_blank">Smithsonian</a></html>!
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==Plastic Republic - Constructing An Island From Microplastic Waste==
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''Turning a Global Problem into a Valuable Resource: We Aim to Engineer Bacteria to Aggregate Tonnes of Microplastic Pollution into ‘Plastic Islands’, in order to Reclaim Plastic for Re-Use.''
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<html><div style="float:right"><a href="http://www.plasticrepublic.org" title="Plastic Republic - Land for Sale" target="_blank"><img src="http://2012.igem.org/wiki/images/c/c5/Ucl2012-landforsalebanner.jpg"  alt="Land For Sale" /></a></div></html>
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<html><iframe width="560" style="z-index:1" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/rEDLg03teOk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></html>
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[http://www.sponsume.com/project/plastic-republic Take a look at our fundraising video and become a supporter of our project!]
{{:Team:University_College_London/templates/twitter}}
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==So what system are you building?==
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After months of planning, we are now rallying to construct a ‘plastic island’ using the principles of synthetic biology. In so doing we hope to provide a solution to one of the world’s major environmental problems – the North Pacific Garbage Patch.  
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The short answer: we are building a Plastic Republic.
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The long answer: You may have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a giant vortex of plastic waste and sludge trapped in the North Pacific oceanWe plan to engineer bacteria to clean up the microplastics which constitute a large proportion of the Garbage Patch. We aim to do this in one of two ways:
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The North Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest of many garbage patches identified around the worldThe waste from these patches enters the digestive systems of resident organisms, which are affected either by the physical size of the plastic, or its toxicity from adsorbing organic pollutants.
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- Breaking down pieces of plastic until they are no longer toxic to marine organisms
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We saw the merits of using synthetic biology to overcome this problem, especially as conventional methods cannot target the majority of the waste - microplastics. By ‘synthesising’ a new strain of bacteria, capable of detecting, aggregating, and buoying these elusive microplastics, we aim to construct ‘Plastic Islands’ for
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- Clumping together microplastics to form ‘plastic islands’
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#Removal and Re-use
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#Construction of a ‘Plastic Republic’
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Our little islands will be left to grow as they accumulate more debris, creating a new marine ecosystem out of our plastic pollution.  Eventually our plastic wasteland will be transformed into a synthetic utopia – a new Plastic Republic.
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Please visit our [[Team:University_College_London/Research|Research page]] for more background and details on the above, and our [[Team:University_College_London/HumanPractice|Human Practice page]] page for how we aim to encourage outside involvement in this project.
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==We’ll see you there for iGEM 2030.==
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== Maybe, we’ll see you on Plastic Republic for 2030. ==
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<div><br /> With thanks to our main sponsor: </div>
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<html><div align="center"><a href="http://www.engineering.ucl.ac.uk/" title="FacultyEng" target="_blank"><img src="http://2012.igem.org/wiki/images/f/f6/Ucl2012_sponsor_facultyeng.png" /></div></html>
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Latest revision as of 20:00, 26 September 2012

Welcome to the UCL entry for iGEM 2012.


UCL iGEM proposes a synthetic biology approach for the bioremediation of micro-plastic pollutants within the marine environment, with emphasis on regions of excessive debris accumulation, such as the North Pacific ‘garbage patch’.

We intend to engineer enhanced adhesive properties in Escherichia coli and marine bacteria Roseobacter denitrifican and Oceanibulbus indolifex, of the Roseobacter clade. To alter the composition and dynamics of resultant biofilms for the adhesion of micro-plastic pollutants, with an extended vision of creating mass aggregates, or ‘Plastic Islands’.

We will attempt to demonstrate micro-plastic particle aggregation and several additional genetic components, including plastic degradation, salinity/osmotic tolerance in E. coli, bacterial buoyancy and novel active biological containment strategies, for an integrative approach to marine bioremediation.

Update: Read about Plastic Republic on Wired, DVICE and Smithsonian!

Plastic Republic - Constructing An Island From Microplastic Waste

Turning a Global Problem into a Valuable Resource: We Aim to Engineer Bacteria to Aggregate Tonnes of Microplastic Pollution into ‘Plastic Islands’, in order to Reclaim Plastic for Re-Use.

Land For Sale


Take a look at our fundraising video and become a supporter of our project!

After months of planning, we are now rallying to construct a ‘plastic island’ using the principles of synthetic biology. In so doing we hope to provide a solution to one of the world’s major environmental problems – the North Pacific Garbage Patch.

The North Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest of many garbage patches identified around the world. The waste from these patches enters the digestive systems of resident organisms, which are affected either by the physical size of the plastic, or its toxicity from adsorbing organic pollutants.

We saw the merits of using synthetic biology to overcome this problem, especially as conventional methods cannot target the majority of the waste - microplastics. By ‘synthesising’ a new strain of bacteria, capable of detecting, aggregating, and buoying these elusive microplastics, we aim to construct ‘Plastic Islands’ for

  1. Removal and Re-use
  2. Construction of a ‘Plastic Republic’

Please visit our Research page for more background and details on the above, and our Human Practice page page for how we aim to encourage outside involvement in this project.

Maybe, we’ll see you on Plastic Republic for 2030.


With thanks to our main sponsor: