Welcome to our wiki!
All of us at University of Edinburgh really excited to show
you everything that we worked on during our time with iGEM

The global imperative to address climate change and surging energy demands beckons an innovative solution in the form of biophotovoltaics (BPVs). In navigating the complex landscape of renewable energy, solar energy stands as a frontrunner. However, challenges in the manufacturing and disposal of conventional silicon-based solar panels underscore the imperative for sustainable alternatives. Our interdisciplinary project responds to this call by marrying the potential of BPVs, harnessing the photosynthetic prowess of cyanobacteria, with a visionary approach to solar panels within a circular economy framework.

The trajectory of global energy demand, anticipated to surge by 32% by 2040, propels the urgency for sustainable energy technologies. BPVs offer promise but face hurdles, particularly in low conversion efficiencies. Focusing on Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, a model cyanobacterium, we embark on a directed evolution journey to enhance salt tolerance. This strategic enhancement aims not only to bolster the efficiency of BPVs through increased salt concentrations but also to position cyanobacteria as pivotal players in renewable energy solutions.

Our commitment to environmental stewardship extends beyond energy production. Repurposing BPV cell culture waste into artificial pollen signifies a paradigm shift in solar panel ecology. This subproject, intricately woven into the circular economy fabric, not only champions pollinator-friendly solar panels but also addresses the broader ecological footprint. To accomplish this we strive to elevate the nutritional content of Cyanobacteria, enhancing amino acids crucial for pollinator diets.

As we envision the real-world deployment of genetically modified cyanobacteria in outdoor solar panels, biosafety takes center stage. A carefully designed kill switch, reliant on a zinc-inducible promoter and a toxin-antitoxin system, ensures genetic biocontainment. This innovative approach addresses environmental concerns and aligns with evolving biosecurity and GMO regulations. However, challenges persist, emphasizing the need for continuous monitoring and adaptation in the face of potential mutations.

In conclusion, our multifaceted project represents a significant stride towards a sustainable and resilient energy future. By propelling the development of efficient BPVs, embracing circular economy principles in solar panels, and ensuring responsible deployment through genetic biocontainment, we navigate the intricate intersection of cutting-edge science and environmental responsibility. This project not only addresses the immediate challenges posed by climate change but also lays the foundation for a future where renewable energy solutions harmonize with the delicate balance of our ecosystems.

Jamboree Results

Safety and Security Award

Edinburgh's Team brought home the Safety and Security Award, with our physical and GMO hybrid system. The zinc-induced survival mechanism mediated by a nuclease toxin-antitoxin system in combination with our detergent failsafe. See our biosafety page for more details!

Best New Basic Part Nomination

Edinburgh's Team was nominated for the Best New Part Nomination for the contribution of the dapA gene to the iGEM registry. Successful expression was key to the success of our His-Lys overexpression subproject and our aim to provide a sustainable source of bee pollen using recycled cyanobacteria cultures. See our results page for more details!

Edinburgh Genome Foundry

Our team also owes a special thank you to the Edinburgh Genome Foundry, who offered to sequence all of our plasmid constructs and run high-throughput assays for our directed evolution experiments. Their work and automated facilities were essential to providing well-characterized parts for the iGEM registry.