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A probiotic bacterial BATMAN to protect the citizens of Gotham from Arsenic Poisoning.


Though several remediation and decontamination techniques exist to remove Arsenic form water, yet Arsenic poisoning remains a severe ailment in highly affected regions such as West Bengal, India (the province of our Institute) and Bangladesh.

These cases of Arsenic toxicity arise due to heavy intake of the metal through food (rice, other cereals and vegetables) raised in Arsenic laden soil and water paddy. There are no preventive measures to these 'vectors' of the 'disease'.

We, Team IISER-Kolkata plan to design a probiotic bacteria that can efficiently intake and sequester Arsenic in the physicochemical conditions existing in the human gut.

Therefore, it will enable us to shield people highly sensitive to Arsenic from its poisoning using low cost but effective result yielding probiotic pill prescription.

We aim to show the proof of concept of our project in Escherichia coli and later move on to probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus.

We also plan to design safe techniques to deliver the probiotic pill into the gastrointestinal tract where the bateria will compete with GI tract epithelium for Arsenic absorption.


Starting with analyzing and surveying of severe challanges in our locality but also of global concern, we came across the issue of Arsenic contamination of groundwater as the project problem. We are in the process of performing ground surveys, social awareness visits and interviews of experts to obtain meaningful data on this problem.
However, upon preliminary examination it has come to our notice that though water filtration and decontamination plants exist to remove Arsenic from potable water, yet use of untreated water for irrigation of food crops (rice) and/or raising fishes etc. leads to inclusion of the heavy metal into the staple diet of the locals. Arsenic ingestion through food causes severe poisoning and several long term effects even leading to cancer.

Present purification methods do not cover this side of the problem leaving people open to the risk of Arsenic toxicity. Team iGEM 2018 IISER Kolkata therefore plans to put synthetic biology to use to combat Arsenic toxicity mainly caused by heavy metal laden ingested food.
Our aim is to design a probiotic Arsenic sequestering bacteria which will be administered as an inexpensive pill to colonize gut and eliminate the toxic heavy metal entering through diet (mostly food).
We will first test the idea and establish proof of concept in the easy to work with gram negative E. coli species often called the lab rat of molecular biology and only then move on to working with gram positive Lactobacillus (probiotic species).


1. Novel prevention based approach as a long term solution to Arsenic Poisoning in severely affected regions of the world.
2. The problem is severe and relatively undealt with. It is of particular importance in the province of our Institute (West Bengal, India), but is also present in other parts of the globe.
3. Our approach is innovative, cheap and effective.

Dr. Partho Sarothi Ray

Primary PI

Dr. Arnab Gupta

Secondary PI

Mr. Debabrato Sutradhar

Project Instructor

Paresh Priyadarshan Rana
The Team Leader

Animish Nilesh Vaze
The Skeptical Experimentalist

Diptatanu Das
The Skilled Microbiologist

Pallab Datta
The Intelligent Artist

Anmol Kumar
The Cheerful Professionalist

Ankit Amrutkar
The Righteous Physicist

Hrishika Rai
The Starved Biologist

Madhavi Andhari
The Confused Hardworker

Souvik Ghosh
The Drunk Craftsman

Prajwal Padmanabha
&ltdescribe yourself&gt

Pavan Vynatheya
&ltdescribe yourself&gt

Rajalaxmi Saha
The Ghost

Department of Biotechnology

Department of Biotechnology

Selected and Awarded Funds through iBEC (pre-iGEM India level competition)

Gene Bridges


Company producing and distributing products and kits for use in Recombinant DNA technology

Integrated DNA Technologies

Integrated DNA Technologies

Official sponsor for all iGEM teams supplying customized synthesized gBlocks for upto 20kb genes

IISER Kolkata

IISER Kolkata

Home Institute

Providing financial assistance to the team

New England Biolabs

New England Biolabs

Official sponsor for all iGEM teams supplying required Mol Bio Kits and chemicals



Company producing and distributing softwares for Molecular Biology

Visit Us Physically:

Lab Number 216, Research Complex Building
IISER Kolkata Campus
Near Harringhata Farm
Mohanpur, Dist: Nadia
West Bengal, India-741246

Visit Us Virtually:

iGEM IISER Kolkata
IISER Kolkata

Write to Us:

Dr. Partho Sarothi Ray
Primary PI

Dr. Arnab Gupta
Secondary PI

Paresh Priyadarshan Rana
Team Leader

Team iGEM IISER-Kolkata Official Mail Address