University of Aberdeen - Pico Plumber
Microbial two-component glue to engineer self-healing pipes; The Pico-Plumber
Layperson Summary: This synthetic biology project will engineer a bacterium from the human gut, Escherichia coli, to detect and fix leaking pipes. Engineered E. coli will detect leaks by homing in on a chemical signal released at the leak site. As the bacteria migrate towards the leak, they will synthesise two proteins, one on the outside of the cell, the other inside, which represent the two components of a biological, protein glue. The adhesive is only activated when the two components mix. The E. coli cells will be engineered to burst at the leak site, mixing the two glue components and creating a sticky protein plug to repair the pipe.
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