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IGEM Evry 2014

Overview - Project

The Sponge Patrol Project

Water is the most precious and fragile resource on Earth. However seas and oceans are polluted by a wide range of compounds stemming from human activities. Faced with this issue, our team wants to heighten awareness about environmental pollution and particularly its devastating consequences on the aquatic life. In this line of thinking we are driven to design a bioremediation tool based on the considerable filtration capacity of sponges to decrease the marine pollution and protect aquatic ecosystems. Our project is based on the engineering of this bacterium in the microbiome in order to develop a filtrating system allowing to sense and even degrade pollutants in water



For our third participation in the iGEM competition, we decided to use a new chassis which is able to work in the depth of oceans through a forceful duo: sponge and bacterium. Sponge can filtrate up to 20m3 of water/day/kg ond is thus one of the most powerful filtrating existing system. We focused on the sponge Spongia Officinalis, which lives in episymbiosis with the bacterium: Pseudovibrio denitrificans.
Pseudovibrio denitrificans is a marine bacterium which as been not yet characterized and also never been used in iGEM.
Likewise, we bring in the iGEM competition Spongia Officinalis, a sponge with impressive features and capacities.
This is why we dedicate a part to introducing them.


Our synthetic system is based on the bacterium Pseudovibrio denitrificans, Which is yet arduous to transform due to its marin origin. In order to be able to transform our bacterium with genes of interest, we have created a new backbone enabling us to use the transposon system in our bacterium. This tool allows to insert genes easily into unknown bacteria and the presence of an universal ORI enables its replication.


This year, our team objective is to develop a filtrating system allowing the sensing and eventually degradation of pollutants. To achieve that goal, we have chosen to work on the most important classes of marine pollutants: phenols, PCBs, nitrites and heavy metals.