Technion wins a gold medal at the international iGEM competition in Boston for the sixth time over the years. This year for developing technology for the creation of bee-free honey. The manufacturer can also determine the properties of the honey, including its taste.
The bee-free honey is produced by the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, known also as the hay bacillus or grass bacillus, found in soil and the gastrointestinal tract of humans.
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This positive germ which is a safe and reliable human and animal probiotic, “learns” to produce the honey following reprogramming in the lab.
The innovation gains importance due to the decline in bee populations in many parts of the world.
iGEM is a prestigious competition established in 2004 by MIT – The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Some 300 teams from universities all over the world took part in the competition.
The groups participate in the competition are required to develop a scientific-technological idea as real business enterprises. In addition to the development of new technology, group members are required to raise research funding; meet with relevant experts from academia and industry, and perform experiments to improve the product. Over the years, dozens of startups have been born through iGEM competition.
“The winnings in the competition are definitely exciting, but equally important is the intellectual property created around the project,” said Prof. Roee Amit, head of the Synthetic Biology Laboratory for the Decipherment of Genomic Codes in the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering. “Just this year, we’ve shortlisted two rare achievements with developments from previous student competitions”
One of them, a scientific article which was published in the ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering journal, describes the use of engineered bacteria to detect and measure harmful substances in food and water.
The other achievement is a patent approved in the United States on March 26, 2019, which Prof. Amit and Lab Director Dr. Orna Attar are signed onto together with students Alexei Tomsov and Maayan Lufton who participated in the 2015 delegation, is a device for preventing baldness based on body bacteria activity.