[ Implementation ]
Our proposed end users are corporations in the fishmeal industry, such as TASA, since we are developing a detection system for Cadmium concentrations in anchovies that will allow the corporations to save money, time, and resources in the fishmeal production process.
Currently, TASA is only able to test for Cadmium concentrations in their fishmeal once the batches are already bagged and ready to be shipped. Therefore, if a batch contains Cadmium concentrations that exceed international regulations, they must dilute it with other batches of fishmeal containing lower Cadmium concentrations, which wastes money, time, and resources.
Which is why, we are currently working with TASA to develop a cell-free “dip-stick” to detect Cadmium concentrations in fresh anchovies on fishing boats, before the production of fishmeal. This way, they will be able to detect Cadmium concentrations earlier in the fishmeal production chain, which is a more sustainable, cost-efficient solution to their problem.
We plan to implement this project by freeze-drying the Sigma 70 Master Mix, from our sponsor Arbor Biosciences, onto paper strips to eventually create a dip-stick-like detection system. When this dip-stick is placed in a blended anchovy sample, it will express a shade of red which we can measure comparatively to gauge the concentration of Cadmium in the fresh anchovies.
Similarly, our hardware team developed a shaking incubator which had the original purpose of serving as our solution to the contamination of Cadmium in fishmeal. However, we found some limitations regarding this solution and therefore came up with the new cell-free system approach. Nonetheless, we plan to provide an instructional manual covering how to 3D print and build a shaking incubator to cultivate bacteria for a relatively low price. We hope to help other iGEM teams as well as other individuals who don’t have the financial resources to purchase more expensive incubators for their projects.
Regarding our work in the educational aspect of our project, we have organized and created educational videos as well as a virtual event, alongside the UPCH iGEM team. We additionally saw the video of our team’s TEDx talk uploaded and with subtitles both in English and Spanish. We hope that through this work, we are able to educate and inspire the youth in the Peruvian community who currently don’t have access to science education due to the pandemic.