Hello You! Welcome to our wiki page. We are Team Utrecht 2018, a very diverse team from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Want to know more about our team? Click Here.
Water is arguably our most precious resource. Unfortunately, increased use of pharmaceuticals including antidepressants and chemotherapeutic medications are contaminating this valuable resource.
After use of these medications, remnants are disposed through the sewage systems and eventually contaminate surface waters, resulting in an increased pollutant concentration in the environment.
These pharmaceutical waste products are still biologically active in vertebrates. For example, even low concentrations of antidepressants pose a threat to ecological systems.
We talked to water treatment companies, specialists and other stakeholders about how to improve current detection methods. Key requirements for our biosensor included safety, accuracy, high measurement rates and low costs. See more on Integrated Human Practices.
Based on the input of experts and stakeholders, we developed the DeTaXion biosensor. DeTaXion improves identification of antidepressants in water, based on the chemotaxis pathway of E. coli. For a more detailed discussion you can visit our Project Description.
To achieve the detection of antidepressants, we set up a three step approach Project Design. The chemotaxis pathway of Escherichia coli was adjusted in such a manner that E. coli can detect antidepressants. Upon recognition of the antidepressant agents, the light signal produced by the E. coli changes. The concentration range to be detected was customized.
Next, we performed these steps in the lab, which resulted into interesting Findings. Including a successfully developed platform to test the functionality of the hybrid receptors.
Since we wanted to enlighten others about biotechnology, water safety and valorisation, we engaged the public at several outreach events, including our biotechnology conference and “Weekend of Science”, establishing an open discussion. More about this topic can be found in Public Engagement. Furthermore, we collaborated with other iGEM teams to get valuable insights.
We also had to find the means to fund our project. Luckily, some parties were willing to invest their time and capital in us. We are very grateful to our Sponsors and other Contributors. A special thank you for your help!
After a lot of late nights, long hours in the laboratory, insightful conversations with stakeholders, sweat (maybe some tears) and a massive amount of laughter and joy. We, Team Utrecht 2018, proudly present you our applied product: DeTaXion: A biosensor to rapidly identify harmful pharmaceuticals in surface waters.