Welcome to Alternative Roots
Sustainability is a topic of increasing concern in the fields of agriculture, food security and rural development. There is a dire need for innovation in this field; primarily driven by predictions of substantial global population increase coupled with severe pressure on non-renewable resources. The result is a necessity to increase food production whilst reducing our impact on the environment. As such, our aim is to find sustainable solutions that address some of these issues.
Nitrogen-fixation for fertilizer production is extremely energy-intensive, accounting for 80% of energy use in agriculture. This is due to the high temperatures and pressures involved in the Haber-Bosch process. Nitrogen is essential for plant growth but cannot be directly accessed from the atmosphere by plants despite its abundance. If an alternative to fertilizers could be developed to provide nitrogen for plant growth that is cheap, easy to use and sustainable, then energy use in the agriculture sector could be greatly reduced.
In 2018, Team Newcastle aim to engineer microbes for sustainable agriculture. The team shall build upon Newcastle University’s long and illustrious history in agriculture and food security research by engineering root colonising microbes. The microbes will attract bacteria that modify the soil's composition including nitrogen content, in a fashion that is suitable for uptake by plants via the roots.
BILLION PEOPLE WILL
INHABIT EARTH BY 2050
MILLION EXTRA PEOPLE
NEED TO BE FED EACH YEAR
MILLION PEOPLE SUFFER
FROM HUNGER WORLDWIDE
MILLION TONNES OF
FERTILIZER USED ANNUALLY
Luke’s my name, Conner is my game. I am the engineering part Conner wants to intertwine with. Having finished my third year I am staying on at Newcastle to complete my masters, hopefully getting into robotics. I took this role as I wanted to explore an avenue of engineering I was not familiar with and work with a multi-disciplined team.
I am a 4th year MBiol Cellular & Molecular Biology student. I joined iGEM for the opportunity to work with students from other academic fields and learn more about synthetic biology. Outside of my degree, I am a scuba diving instructor and enjoy jumping in the North Sea whatever the weather.
I’ve just completed my second year as an Architecture student. iGEM was a step into the dark for me, the last time I did anything biology related was during my GCSE’s. I’m interested how the architecture and biology disciplines can merge. Synthetic Biology offers a new perspective on design starting with a bottom up approach.
Heather's the name, not doing the wiki is my game. I've just finished my third year of MBiol Cellular and Molecular Biology. I joined iGEM as an opportunity to formulate a novel idea and work in a multi - disciplinary team enhancing my biological knowledge.
Connor is the name, getting my name misspelled is the game. I'm currently entering my third year of Biology which has, so far, been fuelled by an excess of caffeine and binge watching a lot of Rupaul's Drag Race. I joined Newcastle's team to apply what I have learned in a unique fashion by intertwining elements of Engineering and Architecture into biological concepts.
I'm Pat, no game with my name. Just finished first year of Chemistry, I probably liked it too much. I believe being interdisciplinary is crucial for research, especially in Synthetic Biology. I want to contribute to the team using my chemical/physical approach. I love working in the lab, however, would be happier without microbes. Basic coffee addict, bad experience with BBQ parties. Probably follow every single NASA team account on Twitter.
Name: Lewis. Likes: llamas, guinea pigs, rock hyrax, all other animals, molecular biology, dungeons and dragons, science fiction and fantasy. Life goal: llama sanctuary (including birds and rodents).
Sadiya’s the name, which most can’t pronounce (despite it being totally phonetic). Just completed first year of Chemistry after switching from Fine Art, and yes, it’s been a huge change, as people always exclaim when I tell them. Both benefit from having that alternative perspective and this is what drew me to iGEM - working as part of a very cross-disciplinary team.
I'm Umar, a 1st year undergraduate studying Automation and Control Engineering. I joined IGEM for the opportunity to work alongside a multi-disciplinary team and develop my skills outside of engineering. When I'm not working on the project, I like swimming, playing the guitar and eating cake. Addicted to bad jokes, allergic to onions.
I’m Chris, 2nd year Architecture student, discovered iGEM when beginning my dissertation in the area of Bio-Materialism. I want to take organisms that have been designed at the genetic scale and design them for use at the human scale - aiding the transition from biologically inspired to biologically engineered design. Better at architecture than Will.
Newcastle iGEM is proud to be sponsored by:
The iGEM Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology, education and competition, and the development of an open community and collaboration. This is done by fostering an open, cooperative community and friendly competition.
iGEMers are building a better world by solving problems with the help of synthetic biology. We inspire responsible innovation through our efforts in biosafety, biosecurity and public outreach.
This global network is leading the field, taking what they learned in the competition and expanding it to continue to build a better world.
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