I: Overview

BJYUAN-CHINA's Project name is A small device based on a butyrate microbial sensor for monitoring intestinal health. During the process of project establishment, implementation, and enhancement we received help from medical and device experts, etc., their advice was useful in our experimental process.

II: During the project initiation

Our project team members wanted to focus on research in the area of intestinal health. Gastroenterologists from the hospital were invited to have a brainstorming session (picture 1) to find out what are the urgent needs for gut health testing in the clinic. We learned that at the moment, early monitoring of intestinal health, especially enteritis, is important to prevent it from developing into a serious disease. The current test methods have some disadvantages.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to find better methods to monitor intestinal health. Based on these inspirations, our team read literature and found that butyrate is closely related to intestinal health and its content may be able to be used to detect intestinal health.

We discussed the results of literature research with digestive experts in the second meeting. Experts believed that butyrate has a good effect on intestinal epithelial cells, which contributes to intestinal health.

III: During project implementation and enhancement

During the biology experiment, we discussed with the biology expert again during the construction of the butyrate sensor. The biology experts emphasized the need for sensitive butyrate measurement methods for future clinical use, and reliable measurement, high-throughput testing, etc. In the experiments, we tried to optimize the experimental conditions in the construction of the butyrate microbial sensor, including the conditions for plasmid restriction enzyme ligation, ensuring that the target gene is inserted into the plasmid. We have also optimized the PCR amplification conditions for target genes, noting that the ratio of genes to vectors is important, and an appropriate ratio can ensure successful gene insertion.

We have designed 12-chamber chip so that multiple samples can be measured in one assay, improving the detection speed and facilitating clinical testing.

IV: Future applications of the small device based on a butyrate microbial sensor for monitoring intestinal health

After constructing the butyrate biosensor, we reported and discussed with gastrointestinal specialists again. But current research has not yet reached the level of being applicable to human samples

Gastrointestinal experts remind that in the future, many clinical samples must be collected to scientifically utilize the role of butyrate in intestinal health testing, in order to be used for clinical testing in the future.

V: Users

Throughout the project, we ended up focusing the development of the butyric acid, the construction of biosensors and their use in instruments. Prior to this, we interviewed a total of 30 people in the squad members' schools and the squad members' parents, asking questions:

1. do you occasionally feel intestinal discomfort;

2. how often you go to the hospital when you feel sick;

3. how receptive they would be to a convenient home-based gut health test kit.

When collecting the results, we found that people often experience intestinal discomfort and most of them do not have time to go to the hospital for systematic checkups due to their busy work or study schedules. Therefore, our team has decided to first design a butyrate biosensor that can reflect intestinal health, and in the future, design a home testing kit as evidence for people to test whether they need to go to a hospital for more professional treatment when they feel uncomfortable.

VI: Community

In conducting the program, we recognized the importance of gut health and found that many people have a very shallow understanding of it. Therefore, our team publicized the knowledge of gut health by opening a WeChat public account and putting up posters in the school respectively.

In conclusion, this project got help throughout the biological experiments and future practical application by organizing many meetings with digestive tract experts. It will benefit for the future applications of the project.