Our project face the growing problem of plastic pollution and the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Bacto-Aid is a sustainable concept with bacteria aiding us. We focused on producing a bandage, consisting of recombinant spider silk integrated with antimicrobial peptides, making it preventive towards infections. The plastic, of which we wish to attach the spider silk to, is biodegradable and produced in the lab.
In order to realize our project we set out to; 1) test the antimicrobial effects of different bacteriocins on pathogenic strains of bacteria, 2) assemble a silk expressing gene-construct, and 3) optimize the PHB production. Additionally, we tried to create a hybrid silk gene-construct in which bacteriocins are incorporated in between the silk monomers.
- The bacteriocins were found to be more efficient towards S. aureus than traditional antibiotics. Furthermore, we designed our own hybrid bacteriocins and proved a synergistic effect was achieved by doing so.
- We worked hard in order to produce a silk construct we could purify. However, we discovered too late that our inconsistent results were probably due to expired streptavidin beads (which are crucial for the silk assembly method).
- We managed to optimize the production of PHB. The incorporation of a secretion system into the plastic production, enabled us to synthesize vast amounts of PHB. Some of the produced plastic was used for 3D printing a piece of a jaw to prove the usefulness of our biodegradable plastic.
Scientific reproduction has been a cornerstone of our project from the start since we have been using other iGEM projects as basis for the development of our Bacto-Aid. We have likewise focussed on reproducibility of our own project in order to assure that the good ideas lives on.
So let’s get down to the details.