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iGEM San Diego

Statistics that are quite relevant to the nature of this experiment

Toxicity of aflotoxin is 10 times that of hydrocyanic acid and 68 times of arsenic

This disease is the third-leading cause of cancer death globally according to WHO (2008), with about 550,000–600,000 new cases each year.

Mycotoxins affect nearly 15-20% of all crops.
E. Coli Capable of Extracelluar Secretion of Mycotoxin Detoxifying Enzymes

Microfungi that produce harmful mycotoxins flourish on improperly-stored nuts, grains, meat, and dairy. They especially thrive in developing countries, where the lack of advanced food storage and mycotoxin exposure causes 40% of the diseases. To lessen the problem, our team engineered E. coli strains using synthetic biology tools to produce chimeric mycotoxin-degrading fungal enzymes, Aflatoxin-Detoxifizyme (ADTZ) and Zearalenone Hydrolase (ZHD101), which are designed to be secreted to extra-cellular space by fusing with secretion signal peptides from alpha-amylase and beta-lactamase. In this study, we have successfully generated synthetic genetic materials to produce four chimeric mycotoxin-detoxifying enzymes. The levels of extracellular secretion is also characterized and analyzed. The project will allow a mass production of detoxification enzymes in cost effective way, preventing the squandering of harvested crops, and limiting mycotoxin-related diseases. Increased access to these proteins will have immense commercial, industrial, health, and agricultural impacts.