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Project Overview

In the 2013 competition, the TU Munich iGEM team has developed a transgenic moss filter which is capable of reducing the contamination of aquatic ecosystems with xenobiotics. The topic of remediation using transgenic organisms is present in every year of iGEM and we want to take this idea to the next level. For this reason we decided to use a photoautotrophic chassis, the moss Physcomitrella patens. The following section gives an overview of the theoretical background.


Phytoremediation describes the treatment of environmental problems through the use of plants. Here we identified problematic substances and described basic principles.
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Next, we introduced Physcomitrella patens as a new chassis into iGEM. We described advantages, options and our expression strategy.
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As the mechanisms of the effectors responsible for Phytoremediation are very different, it is necessary to have a protein expression system which is able to accomplish cytosolic, secreted and receptor bound localization of proteins.
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BioDegradation describes the application of enzymatic catalysis for the degradation of problematic xenobiotics using the enzymes erythromycin esterase, catechol dioxygenase and laccase.
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For BioAccumulation we employed different binding proteins which immobilize pollutants on the moss cells. In this context we targeted the substances fluorescein, DDT and microcystin.
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In order to prevent uncontrolled growth of transgenic moss in the environment, we developed a Kill-Switch which is triggered by sunlight. The GM-Moss can only be grown where red-light is filtered out of the electromagnetic spectrum. Read more


Our safety page describes our evaluation concerning safety issues, especially a safety evaluation of our BioBricks and Physcomitrella patens.
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