Hi everyone, we are the 2020 ULaval Team. For the 2020 edition of the iGEM competition, we are working on a well-known Canadian product: maple syrup. We came up with a way to treat ropy sirup, a kind of defective maple syrup, into a base that could be used in the industry. The project consists of degrading the polymer responsible for the ropiness with an engineered hydrolase. Our solution would revalorize a wasted product and give it a new value. It would help the environment and the economy revolving around maple syrup and its derivatives. If you want to know more about our project, keep exploring the website, and welcome to our sugary adventure.
This year, Our team is competing for:
Best Food & Nutrition Project
Best Integrated Human Practices
We are the team of Laval University in Quebec, Canada. Our team takes part in the iGEM competition for the third time this year. For this 2020th edition, our team is mostly composed of newcomers and is formed of either graduate and undergraduate students. We are in varied fields of study ranging from Biochemistry, Microbiology, Bioinformatics, Chemistry and Food Science. This group is also surrounded by three amazing teachers and mentors besides the different professionals advising us in the project’s development and past Ulaval iGEMers.
aSAP consists of a dextranase which degrades dextrans that give ropy maple syrup it’s unpleasing texture and occasional bad taste. In order to develop a specialized dextranase that is effective in ropy maple syrup conditions, we used several bioinformatics tools. We used alignment tools to identify and characterize a dextranase from several candidate organisms. Having our choice made on one candidate dextranase, we studied its structure and behavior with molecular dynamics and docking tools.
Our human practices consisted of interviewing more than 15 experts on maple syrup, scientists and representatives of the authorities in this area to target an issue in a product we value. We also evaluated the usefulness, the potential issues, the risks, the alternatives, the fairness and the benefits of our project aSAP by making substantial research and producing a survey for maple producers in the province of Quebec.
Part of our iGEM adventure involved sharing our project with other iGEM teams and general audiences. Working with them was highly rewarding and helped us grasp just how much communication can help move science forward.