Team:Rheda Bielefeld/Human Practices

Human practices

After we thought about our project, we wanted to know if it could be established or, more specifically, if it is an idea that is profitable.

To know that our project would work, we contacted many experts and explained them our intention. We contacted not only allergists to check if our test strip, which would identify the pollen exposure in the air, can help to measure out the medicine, but also scientists specialized in palynology (the scientific field of pollen) and the German fruit juice industry, because our Escherichia coli would produce pectinase, a substance that is often used in the juice industry to get more juice from the fruit by cracking the cells outer wall.

Another part of our Human Practice was to visit the Marta Event in Herford, Germany. Here you can see more of it at the Marta Event.

We also worked on biosafety issues and biosecurity issues with the iGEM Bielefeld-CeBiTec team and for our participation we recieved the Dual Use Research of Concern Button.

Asking allergists and professors

Another part of our Human Practice was contacting some allergists to figure out the negative impact and side effects of antihistamines which are tiring but the allergy itself lowers the capability of the affected people. Therefore, we asked an allergist who works at the universiticial hospital of Aachen in the otorhinolaryngology and allergology. She told us about a study at a British school. The result of the study was that during the seasons, when a lot of pollen are in the air and the students take anti-allergenics, their grades differ negatively up to a whole grade(Walker, S., Khan-Wasti, S., Fletscher, M., Cullinan, P., Harris,J., Sheikh, A.: “Seasonal allergic rhinitis is associated with a detrimental effect on examination performance in United Kingdom teenagers: Case control study”, in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2007: 120,2: 381-387). So the capability of the student's performance suffers from the medicine and another side effect is fatigue.
Jeroen Buters, a professor at the technical university of Munich, showed real interest in our general project. Even after the Giant Jamboree, we want to stay in contact with him because he wants to continue research of our project in the future.
Another thing we had to think about was the negative side of developing a biosensor. If the biosensor debuts, the center for pollen in the technical university of Munich which counted the pollen before would lose their purpose and it could cause a loss of jobs because the pollen were counted by hand with a microscope.

Asking the fruit juice industry

We communicated with the fruit juice industry.
We found out that the fruit juice industry uses pectinase for clearing the juice, which is an important step for clear apple juice. If our E.coli could produce the pectinase, it could be used in the fruit juice industry because the amount of pectinase the industry needs is „quantum satis“ (limitless).
If there is a chance for the fruit juice industry to use the E. coli, it needs to be approved for the food production by the European Union that tests the E.coli if it is detrimental to ones health and if it can be used by the industry.
So this could be another way to use our E. coli and to research in the future.

Results of Human Practice

To conclude, our Human Practice we found out that there is a general interest in our idea and that not only the medicine but also the fruit juice industry could make profit out of our project.