January – March

  • Recruited members and assembled a team
  • Began project brainstorming and developing a project
  • Search through the literature and iGEM registry


  • Decided on a project to address plastic waste
  • Recruited plastics degradation expert Dr. Levin and social sciences advisor Dr. Lori Wilkinson
  • Participated in the 3K Spark Pitch Competition to promote synthetic biology in the Science Innovation Hub at the University of Manitoba


  • Educational initiatives for the general public and school-aged children about biological concepts and synthetic biology at our institution's Science Rendez-vous event
  • Start of funding: preparation of sponsorship package and communications with internal sponsors
  • Chose our plastic-degrading enzymes TLL and others (lignin peroxidase, PETase, PLA depolymerase) with a bioreactor implementation in mind



Week 1-2

  • Met with Dr. Ackerman, from the Sustainability in Action Facility, to learn about composting and PLA degradation
  • All wet lab team members participated in site-specific laboratory and biosafety training
  • Met with Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba to learn about the current state of recycling in our community
  • The start of PLAnet Zero: changed the project scope to focus on the degradation of PLA plastics

Week 3-4

  • Continued to search the literature to include more PLA-degrading enzymes
  • Designed and ordered the DNA constructs for Est119 and RPA1511 proteins
  • We acquired a construct containing TTL from the Budisa Lab group
  • Began in silico dry lab work
  • Project description


Week 1-2

  • DNA cloning of Est119, RPA1511, MGS0156, and GEN0105
  • Ordered primers for Est119 and RPR1511 for transfer into expression vector

Week 3-4

  • Expression of Est119, RPA1511, MGS0156, and GEN0105
  • Began Michaelis Menten esterase activity assays for TTL
  • Met with sustainability technician Stephanie Chow at the Forks Markets where we learned about the pros and cons of PLA plastic use, the challenges with composting in the Bio Vator system, and compost sterilization


Week 1

  • Began wiki construction
  • Began Michalis-Menten esterase activity assays for MGS0156
  • Met with CUHK iGEM to discuss our plastic degradation projects
  • Met with the University of Manitoba Sustainability office to determine the gaps in knowledge regarding the composting vs. recycling streams at our institution and made plans to collaborate on educational initiatives

Week 2

  • Ordered primers for the removal of the Lpp-OmpA anchor domain from Est119 and RPA1511
  • Met with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to learn more about the current state of composting in Manitoba and compost quality control regulations
  • Went on a ride-along with Compost Winnipeg to learn more about the barriers to composting within Manitoba and the journey of waste to landfills

Week 3

  • Began whole-cell activity assays of Lpp-OmpA-Est119, Lpp-OmpA-RPA1511, Est119 and RPA1511
  • Began planning SynBio Day for the educational outreach to high-school students in our community

Week 4

  • Site visit of EnviroClean Landfill Solution Ltd. to learn more about the novel Aerobic Rapid Bio-Digestion Machines and potential collaboration involving future field-testing
  • Norleucine incorporation into TTL and MGS0156. Began Michaelis-Menten esterase activity assays for TTL (Nle) and MGS0156 (Nle)
  • Filmed the promotional video



  • Began PLA coupon assays
  • We incubated PLA plastic with our various enzyme treatments and analyzed changes in the structure via attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy
  • Began our crowdfunding campaign
  • Finished editing and submitted the promotional video
  • Completed and submitted the final version of our safety form


  • Received institutional ethics board approval to start administering plastic pollution survey
  • Finalized our wiki page