iGEM 2016 – University of Copenhagen

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Center for Synthetic Biology > iGEM > iGEM 2016

iGEM 2016 - CosmoCrops

The Laboratories of Center for Synthetic Biology has been buzzing day and night ever since CosmoCrops began working tirelessly on their project of creating a co-culture that can host both sugar-producing cyanobacteria and bioplastic-producing bacteria: The ready-made solution for production of tools, food ingredients and medicine for space travel. The team will compete in the iGEM competition in Boston 27-30 October.

CosmoCrops team members

CosmoCrops introduce their project:
Our project is to develop a co-culturing system that combines microalgae (cyanobacterium) and a modified bacterium to efficiently harvest sunlight to produce essential compounds like biopharmaceutical, vitamins or plastics for 3D printing.

The development of better ways to use sunlight in the production of biomaterials can lead to more sustainable and diverse production methods, and to life essential onsite production in remote areas like a Moon or Mars base.

To our knowledge, no one has yet designed a modular co-culture system for bioproduction of chemical compounds in space. We will make a proof-of-concept, by designing such a bioprocessing system and optimizing it for future space mission in the Mars Chamber at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

We ultimately wish to supply the international space station and future moon or Mars bases with more flexible bioreactors consisting of interchangeable cartridges allowing for onsite production of bioplastics and pharmaceutical compounds all from the same biological system.

To perform lab work for our project, we have been granted permission to work in GMO Class II laboratory allocated at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN) at the Faculty of Science, Frederiksberg Campus, UCPH.

Furthermore, we will be working closely with the Head of Copenhagen Plant Science Center (CPSC) Professor Poul Erik Jensen and Associate Professor Sotirios Kampranis from the Section of Plant Biochemistry.

Additionally, to provide extra knowledge within astrobiology and astrophysics, we are collaborating with Master student Christina Toldbo who is specializing in Space exploration at the University of Stuttgärt, Germany and Associate Professor Morten Bo Madsen from the Section of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences, UCPH.