Team Alberta had a great summer. Our exceptional wiki displays our contributions to iGEM and synthetic biology as we both learned to work with a new organism, Neurospora crassa and developed a standard assembly method for creating constructs for Neurospora. Our innovations will allow for the expansion of synthetic biology. For more information on our advances, see BBF RFC 82.
Progress on our biodiesel development was delayed as we created our new standard. Team Alberta submitted DNA for two parts to the registry but has many parts in the works awaiting characterization and assembly into the biobricks format. It is our hope that our contributions to the development of Neurospora as a suitable chassis for synthetic biology will not be overlooked for sheer number of parts and that our successful advance to Finals will allow our Team to complete the characterization and development of our parts for future iGEM projects and for the advancement of synthetic biology into a new and exciting chassis.
Team Alberta contributed to three workshops with Team Calgary and Team Lethbridge. These workshops allowed for growth of the iGEM community within our province as well as for the expansion of ideas. Two of the workshops were geared towards project development and the last workshop was an opportunity to present our project to the other teams and receive feedback and ideas.
Best Human Practices Advance
Human practices are at the core of Team Alberta’s project. We aimed to remove the much divided food vs. fuel debate by using industrial and household waste products and convert these wastes into value-added fuel. The economic viability of our biodiesel is clearly conveyed in our Cost Analysis. Team Alberta recognizes the importance of outreach in the synthetic biology community. We hosted several high-school aged groups in our lab and one group of children grades 4-6, educating them on the concepts of synthetic biology and de-mystifying current practices. In addition, Team Alberta met with several prominent figures from both the provincial and municipal governments to discuss synthetic biology and the future of alternative energy in both our city and our province.
An idea is good, but a working concept is better. Team Alberta laid down the foundations for developing a bioreactor. We plan to have a completed prototype before the Finals Jamboree in Boston.
Best Food and Energy Project
Both Food and Energy define our project. We envision biofuel production moving away from food sources and towards waste products. By-product cellulose biomass is abundant in Alberta through the agricultural and forestry industries. We aimed to utilize this biomass to produce energy; waste, not food, to fuel. The biodiesel created by Team Alberta is economical and viable as a fuel.