Future Perspectives of the Work in the Red Lab
"We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive." - Albert Einstein
Scientific Challenges in Red Lab
Even through meticulous planning, high-tech equipment and excellent practical solutions, scientific work encounters several problems - some of which will never be fully solved.
To put it more sagely, everyone encounters challenges and how we deal with them is a central factor in defining the worth of our work.
The major issue in keeping on our described experimental course was the limitation of our physics equipment not being in a GMO-certified laboratory, and we spent quite some time trying to ensure that our tests on the wild types would be able to conclude anything on behalf of the modified strains.
As we can clearly see in the ideal gas law, the parameters of atmospheric substance, pressure and temperature are internally linked. This of course means that juggling them becomes a challenge, and especially when it comes to achieving both a high concentration of carbon dioxide and an extremely low pressure.
Likewise, transporting a large number of samples between buildings and testing them in a physics lab not built for handling biomass resulted in quite a few contamination issues.
We have also been limited in the scale of our operation, as the Mars chamber, because of its small size, only allows for a very small amount of bacteria to be tested at one time, if we wish to examine other parameters than pressure and as such, much of our research has been more focused on this parameter.
As a way of increasing the number of pressure experiments, we made a DIY mini vacuum chamber consisting of used marmalade glasses and silicone plates. While this did work, it was a challenge to keep the container at a specific pressure when it went too low, and also difficult to insure a stable pressure within.
Next steps in the Red Lab
The experiments the Red Lab carried out so far involved the wild type bacteria. One of the improvements the Red Lab would like to achieve is being able to subject to low pressure and UV radiation the whole co-culture composed by GMOs bacteria. In order to do that the physics equipment needs to be moved in a GMO-certified lab.
Being able to achieve a plate of highly resistant bacteria following the procedure described under the name "Acclimatization Cycle" in Experimental Concept .
During the past few years the concept of "sustainable development" has become an impelling necessity in our lives and hence a crucial discussion topic.
Some steps towards a sustainable living are quite easy to put in action: recycling, energy conservation, reducing CO2 production, water management.
The project CosmoCrops developed is highly focused on sustainability, starting from the fact that we are synthesizing a biopolymer. However the experimental setting of the Red Lab might be improved in order to test the bacteria in a "more sustainable" way. How?
First of all using materials that can be recycled more efficiently (eg substituting the silicon with P(LA-co-3HB), the biopolymer our bacterias are producing). Secondly, minimizing the amount of materials involved.