"The first problem we want to address within our project are pathogens affecting potatoe farming in Southern Alberta. Here, the fungus fusarium graminearum causes the disease dry rot in potatoes. Loss of potatoes due to fusarium happens both on the field and during the storage of potatoes. We therefore want to use antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) to fight this pathogen."
"Our team wants to engineer the potatoes, but also E. coli to produce the AMPs. Whilst engineering the potatoes is the more direct approach, there is also an adversity amongst consumers towards GMO food. As an alternative approach, the potatoes could be sprayed with the engineered E. colis. This would provide the surface of the potatoes with AMPs, whilst the potatoes can stay non-GMO."
Improving the Human Diet with Healthy AMPs
"GM crops often have no advantage for the consumer aside from their comparatively reduced price, which is one of the reasons why they are negatively perceived by consumers. Our goal is to change that by using AMPs that have positive health effects."
"After the AMPs help fight off the pathogens, they can also help potato consumers to improve their health. By using heat-stable AMPs, we ensure that the health benefits survive the heating process required to convert potatoes into their most delicious forms, generally referred to as fast food. We know that fast food is not healthy, but we also know that you will not stop eating it. So when you are eating fries anyways, why not eat FriGEM's healthy fries?"