Forbidden FRUITS


The application of our “Forbidden” FRUITS algorithm in the outside world!

The ultimate goal of Forbidden FRUITS is to identify genetic engineering strategies for stable production of any compound in any micro-organism for which a metabolic model exists. In essence, this means that we envision that Forbidden FRUITS can help to fasten the development of genetically engineered strains by predicting genetic strategies for the production of any compound by any microbe. When a company or academic institution wants to produce a certain compound within a specific microorganism, this serves as input for our algorithm and outputs genetic strategies with predicted growth and productivity. Subsequently, we provide our consumer with advice on the selection of the genetic strategy or could even design the microorganism in a growth-coupled stable way.

Academic Implementation

We would strive for the academic implementation of Forbidden FRUITS as a software package that could be used by academics to guide them on their journey to design microbial production systems. By using our tool they could more easily and faster generate stable genetic strategies that can be verified in the lab. This could potentially accelerate biotechnological advances in the field of synthetic biology and its applications in the outside world.

Industrial Implementation

The Interviews 👨‍💻

From our conversations with Tjeerd van Rij (DSM) and Harald Ruijssenaars (Corbion) we learned that strategies delivering higher yields or producing valuable compounds are always interesting for them. For designing metabolic engineering strategies they have most knowledge in-house, so metabolic consulting is no necessity. However they still are open to collaborations. For more details check our stakeholder interviews here.

Forbidden FRUITS vs Engineered strains 🧫

With our Forbidden FRUITS algorithm we could predict growth-coupled genetic strategies for specific compounds in microorganisms. At first instance, we could work with licenses for using our software in such a way that the industry has to pay to use our software package. On the other side, we could construct these engineered phenotypically stable strains and subsequently, patent them. The next step would be to sell these strains directly to the industry in order to gain profit.

Governmental implementation - Risk Assessment Tool

The Brainstorm ⚡️

Team members Vicky and Robin first met with Cécile van der Vlugt-Bergmans of the RIVM (Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) to introduce our algorithm and discuss its possible applications in risk assessment. After understanding the regulatory needs and concerns of the RIVM, we developed some future additions to our algorithm pipeline that could incorporate safety. 

RIVM Pipeline

The Presentation 🗒

After the initial brainstorming session, our team had the opportunity to present Forbidden FRUITS to a diverse audience of RIVM employees, with backgrounds spanning machine learning, bio-containment, mathematical modeling, and more.

In addition to sharing information on our project and more generally knowledge on algorithm-building, our team gained insight as to which concerns are a priority to governmental bodies like the RIVM. One key takeaway from the discussion following our project presentation was that the quality of data pulled from the databases used in our pipeline is of the utmost importance, especially if we were to refine our algorithm for risk assessment. Overall, the RIVM team saw potential in Forbidden FRUITS to help identify the safety of genetic engineering strategies.

Forbidden FRUITS

Find more information about the team, the project and the workshops that we're organising by visiting our social media.

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