Team:Hong Kong UCCKE

Nematode Biochemical marshal: attractant and repellent

Inspired by the ability of horsehair worm modifying the behavior of other organisms, we would like to employ the idea to modify organisms behavior by what available in our laboratory. Nematode is a pest, which will attack the roots of crops. We wish to modify its behavior by engineering bacteria to produce biochemical cues to attract or repel the worm. We identified two potential biochemicals, cinnamaldehyde and phenylpyruvic acid, which are possibly attractant or repellent to the Nematode. We have designed a chemosensation assay to demonstrate the attraction and repulsion ability of the biochemical of interest. The results suggest that cinnamaldehyde is a strong repellent and phenylpyruvic acid is a moderate attractant to the worm. Genetic engineering of bacteria to produce the two biochemicals are working in progress.

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We would like to thank the following associations for helping or sponsoring us during our project.