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<!DOCTYPE html> GenetiX - The Project

The Project

The main idea of our project is to achieve the detection of anoxia and Iron concentrations in water systems. What we propose is to construct an easy way of monitoring the levels of O2 and Fe in the lake by using biosensors. By using modified bacteria E. coli for this, we will try to find a cheaper, easier, and faster way to detect the problem of anoxia and iron concentration in some aquifers of Mexico City. We will have to analyze samples of water at different depths to know where the problem is worse and what probable native species could be more affected.

Our purpose is the identification of adequate dissolved oxygen levels for a stable support of life and the identification of iron concentration below threatening levels in order to know if the lake has the physical and chemical properties to support wild-life naturally. With the use of biosensors, specialized for detecting concentrations of oxygen above a 2% dissolution, we used modified E. coli with an oxygen promoter (BBa_K258005) that will detect the low concentrations and a reporter of (GFP or RFP) that will indicate the activation of our promoter (Figure 1). The Iron promoter reacts inside an environment with a concentration of iron ranging from 1 ppm and on (A. Quintero,2007). The acceptable levels of iron in drinkable water are lower than 0.5 ppm (WHO, 1996).

To achieve the objective using E. Coli we will construct different types of modified plasmids for our bacteria to express the biosensors based on iGem biobricks. The idea is to use sensitive promoters: one for oxygen, and another one for iron; those promoters will lead to an expression of GFP or mRFP. This will provide a visual signal to indicate the presence or absence of these elements. Biobrick parts BBa_K258005 (O₂ prom), BBa_I765000 (Fe prom), BBa_E1010 (GFP) and BBa_J04650 (mRFP) were selected for the construction of the biosensors (Figure 2). These were transformed into E. coli strands DH5-a, TOP 10, and NEB 10-b for storage and subsequent plasmid growth and isolation using a Zymo Research® DNA extraction kit.

Once we measure and identify critical regions of the Lake, our report could go directly to the Citizen Council for its consideration. The competent authorities should be able to propose concrete legal initiatives to reduce pollution in the identified areas and start remediation campaigns that re-establish the local aquatic environment to a stable, liveable, friendly ecosystem for the inhabitant species.