Eat coli - The untapped food resource of the century

Click the picture to meet the 2014 SDU iGEM team.

Our project aims to create a nutrition source of high quality from a yet untapped food resource: Escherichia coli (E. coli). Our project intends to genetically modify a strain of E. coli to overproduce a self-designed nutritional protein, the OneProt, which contains the perfect distribution of all amino acids, including all the essential amino acids that must be incorporated through the diet. Likewise, this bacteria will produce essential fatty acids (ω3-, and ω6 fatty acids), that cannot be produced by the human body. In addition, this amazing nutrition-combo will be obtained from the degradation of otherwise non-degradable material for humans, such as cellulose, to make the source sustainable. And of course, we also want it to be tasty!

Our project has several applications. As a current application, the Edible coli is thought as a relief aid for hunger-stricken countries, since hunger often links to malnourishment due to a diet with a high content of carbohydrates, the cheapest foods, and a lack of proteins and fatty acids. In a broader aspect, our aim with this project is to help society on the right track in controlling malnutrition, due to lack of food in the future. The importance of acknowledging that food comes from a limited source, is a part of our project. We wish to highlight the limited source of food by presenting a solution to the problem: Protein and essential fatty acids produced by a strain of E. coli. We hope that our project will lead to a realization of the limited source of nutrition, and that this realization will be followed by a debate about introducing nutrition produced by microorganisms and in addition, the acceptance of it.

The idea of generating nutrition from bacteria is a contradiction between the common opinion of how food is produced and of finding a solution on obtaining food in the future. This means that the importance of doing good research and including ethics and social aspects will have great impact on our iGEM project.

This project is our proposal for a solution to malnutrition. We intend to present a possible solution, but we also aim at addressing the problem of malnutrition and the upcoming dilemma of obtaining food for everybody in a future with more, and more people to share this world.