For this year's iGEM project, our goal is to build up a farmland water protection system against Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). EDCs can interfere with endocrine systems, causing cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. These chemicals are mostly man-made and found in various materials such as pesticides, food containers, and personal care products. In this project, we primarily focus on two common kinds of EDCs in our daily products, BPA (Bisphenol A) and NP (Nonyl Phenol).
There are mainly two objectives in our project, detection of EDCs and degradation of EDCs.
For detection, we first modified E. coli to express EDC receptor, ERα, on the membrane of E. coli. Next, we modified E. coli to produce monobody and assembled them on a gold electrode surface. Once EDCs are bound with ERα, monobody will capture the bounded ERα, making E. coli closer to the gold electrode.
In the future, we plan to add GFP protein to our E. coli, and build a fluorescence-based detector, which we can measure the light intensity and estimate the concentration of EDCs.
For degradation, we modified E. coli to produce target enzymes which are able to degrade BPA and NP. To make our project more applicable, we integrated target enzymes with activated carbon, membrane and bioreactor system to eliminate these contaminants in waste water. We have built up a functional prototype filter, which will be able to provide the farmland some basic protection.