To implement our project in the real world, we would like to put our three strains of engineered probiotics (capable of converting ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and producing myrcene) into a capsule or a form of a snack. After people take it, the probiotics could reach their intestine and start to degrade the undesirable intestinal odor and produce a fragrant scent. In this way, theoretically, people can fart with a mild black tea smell, and patients who undergo enterostomy will not worry about social distancing due to the acrid smell that leaks out from their stoma. It is especially useful for people when they are at solemn and formal occasions such as conferences and dates.
There is still a distance toward that goal. In this project, we have obtained valid experimental data to prove the validity of the proposal and created a mathematical model for the competitive relationship between the three different strains of probiotics. To commercialize the product, we still need to optimize the genetic pathways and minimize the side-effect such as the disruption of the balance of the intestinal environment, in the future, by trying the different number of copies of plasmid and promoter, and carry the pathways on more optimized bacteria chassis. More importantly, our product needs to pass the human trial to ensure biosafety and efficiency.
Admittedly, there is still a long way to go. Through our questionnaire, we have found that social acceptance of gene-engineering products is not so high. A large number of people stereotypically worry that taking pills or eating genetically modified food is harmful to their health. To gradually eliminate this social bias, we should strengthen publicity on the knowledge of gene-engineering products. Simultaneously, we need to test our products as much as possible to minimize its side-effects.
The form of a product influences its success in popularization. For the very first product, maybe we can only design a capsule, but we expect to make it into daily food---even as common as chewing gums. It is easier for people to accept our product, and it is more convenient for them to eat if we produce our products as a form of food.
We will strive to continue carrying out our project after the competition. As some of our teammates will soon become young adults, we are currently drafting to publish our product into the market if we can make it. Before the product can enter the market for real, in this iGEM project, we first evaluate the demand for our products, as well as propagandize the significance of our products and knowledge of intestinal health to expand the size potential market.