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International success for LMU students

07.11.2012

igem2012bInternational success for LMU students

A team of seven Bachelor and Master students from the LMU earned the fourth place out of 190 teams in the “international Genetically Engineered Machine” competition (iGEM) which took place at the MIT, Cambridge, USA. The annual iGEM competition is the most prestigious student competition in the field of synthetic biology.

With their project “BEADzillus”, the students manipulated dormant survival stages of the soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis, so-called endospores, to yield functional nanoparticles. This system of nanoparticle production enables any protein to be anchored to the spore’s surface and maintain its functionality for specific applications. By this means, the production of the nanoparticles as well as the functional proteins on their surface can take place in one single step in B. subtilis, superseding any additional tools or equipment. Until now, such use of proteins required that the proteins be produced in and isolated from bacteria, and then bound to expensive plastic particles (synthetic beads) for further use or characterization – a very time-consuming procedure. The usage of these protein-expressing nanoparticles (“biological beads”) developed by the LMU-team – which are almost universally applicable for proteins – would reduce production cost and time considerably. A possible application of biological beads is in filter cartridges for purifying drinking water by removing heavy metal ions, toxic substances or even hazardous germs. But even utilizing the beads for enzyme optimization in biotechnological processes is imaginable.

The LMU-team, supervised by Professor Thorsten Mascher, already qualified in October at the Regional Jamboree in Amsterdam as one of 18 from 53 European teams to advance to the world championship at the MIT in Cambridge, MA (USA). There, the LMU-team achieved the fourth place out of 190 teams worldwide. In addition, the team won two special prices for best online documentation (Best Wiki Award) and the best new application in synthetic biology (Best New Application Award).

(image:iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight)

Further information on this years iGEM competition.

The official page of the LMU iGEM-Team.

For further information and inquiries, please contact
mascher@bio.lmu.de