Team:Saloniki Greece 12 overview


Saloniki 2012 iGem


In the recent months many people throughout Greece have been returning to agriculture as their main source of income. This makes agricultural developments extremely important for Greece’s economic future. For this reason we have selected an agricultural project for the focus of this year’s iGEM team. Furthermore, the American Farm School in Thessaloniki was founded to educate young men and women in agriculture and life science, thus the students from this school have practical training in this area. The key factor to having healthy soil is the presence of a plethora of different bacterial species. There are millions of different types of bacteria in nutritious soil. These bacteria do everything from decomposing dead matter to simple carbons or degrading pollutants to forming nitrogen-fixing, mutualistic relationships with plants. We can take advantage of the roots that exists at the American Farm School by working with the different soils and their equipment. We first plan to take soil samples from different areas at the farm. We will analyze the different bacterial and chemical composition of the soils in relation to the crops that are being grown in the area. Then we will identify the beneficial properties of the existing types of bacteria to see which would be most beneficial to express on a large-scale. We plan to focus on nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These microorganisms are called diazotrophs and are extremely important to the environment. They convert nitrogen (N2) in the atmosphere to ammonia (NH3). This allows the nitrogen to be easily used as a biological building block. Many of these bacteria form relationships with plants where the plant supply carbons and the bacteria supply the nitrogen for plants to use in growth. We are hoping to increase the ammonia supplied from the bacteria or work on protocols to make these bacteria easier to work with in synthetic biology.