Our project involves 3 main fields Banana producers, Ecuadorian regulatory entities of Agriculture & Environment, and Academia. We wanted to learn about their realities and provide a solution that meets their demands. This way, our iGEM project raises as an integral and innovative solution for Ecuador.
We have designed Agrobactory 593 against Fusarium wilt, which is a lethal disease that mainly affects bananas. In Ecuador, banana production is the cornerstone for the country’s economy because it generates thousands of jobs. Ecuador is one of the world's main banana exporters, therefore, the consequences of the pathogen’s arrival into our territory would be devastating for the socio-economic sector. Human Practices and these 3 areas included: analysis of the banana-value chain (production, processing, and marketing), as well as feedback from the legal, environmental, and academic actors.
We held meetings with key players in the agricultural, legal and academic sectors of our country to improve our understanding of the realities faced by banana companies in terms of lack of information and advice on pest control. hese meetings helped us to a better understanding of the necessities of large and small banana producers. In the end, all these experiences encouraged us to create Agrobactory 593 and a product that could be applied to the soil as a preventive measure, but always considering GMOs regulatory restrictions in our country and worldwide.
We also were involved in the development of new legal bases that modify biosafety considerations regarding GMOs in Ecuador. On this page, we'll share what we've learned through working with farmers, agricultural leaders, and academic experts. We also want to show how these exchanges have influenced the development of our project to ensure a solution suitable for Ecuador's reality.
Our Stakeholders(click on the circle).
On this part, we will report the insights that interactions with players from the scientific and agricultural world, the academic and the business world have provided us during the entirety of our project . We have compiled here how our initial project idea was shaped by the experience and knowledge from the stakeholders. Click on the circle> .
Linda Guamán & Carlos Barba.
Synthetic biology and CRISPR-Cas9 experts
Responsible for the Virology and Biotechnology Department in the Institute for Health Studies
Entrepreneur of biotechnology projects
PhD student in Plant Pathology at Oklahoma State University.
Martha Carolina Elizondo
After iGEM Ambassador Coordinator, Master student at Heidelberg University
Responsible for the Musaceae Program of the Pichilingue Tropical Station of INIAP.
Freddy Magdama & Efrén Santos
Experts in Plant Pathology and teachers at the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL)- Ecuador
Banana value chain groups
Our human practices also focused on the banana value chain, which is the set of all the activities necessary to obtain a product (in this case bananas), those that provide added value and also benefit consumers, such as: primary activities, secondary activities, suppliers and exporters.
In this section we will show you the advice we received from each of the experts that make up the banana value chain (click on the circle).
Jorge Patricio Sánchez Gutiérrez
Group: Midsize producers
Entity: Bananera Pacidel S.A / Association of small banana producers "El Guabo".
Group: Government Entities
Entity: Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition
Group: Inputs (Certified plant material)
Entity: Galiltec S. A., Ecuador
Jhonny Villacís Sánchez
Group: Technical Experts
Eduardo Clodoveo Moncayo
Group: Small producers
Entity: Rancho San Eduardo
Group: Large producers
Entity: Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA)
Global Policy Hackathon
During september 24th, 25th and 26th , several experts in local and global policies for importing/exporting materials used in Synthetic biology in the Global Policy Hackathon. Here, we were able to analyze and contrast the current Ecuador’s legislation related to this matter.
The iGEM Ecuador team analyzed “Procedures for importing microorganisms, DNA and RNA”. We found ambiguity in the definitions of "Genetic Material", "Diagnostic Reagents" and "Biological Products", as well as the non-existence of specific laws for the importation of microorganisms, DNA, and RNA, causing the procedure to take a long time which could result in the material being impossible to import or arriving in poor condition.
Our findings led us to propose the use of internationally standardized definitions such as those described by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to import procedures from other regulatory bodies and to extrapolate regulations for the importation of genetic material used in synthetic biology as long as the material to be imported was not genetically modified, does not represent a pathological risk and comes from countries belonging to the Andean Community of Nations.
As a result of our participation in the event, we have generated a Overview of the Ecuador's import policies for biological parts, DNA/RNA and microbes.
At the end of the event, each team presented their work during the hackathon and the iGEM Ecuador team received the award for "Best Presentation" and "Policy Overview Runners Up".
 M. B. García, F. Juca y O. M. Juca, «STUDY OF LINKS OF THE VALUE CHAIN OF BANANAS IN THE PROVINCE OF EL ORO,» Universidad y Sociedad , vol. 8, nº 3, p. 8, 2016.
 V. Gurdaswani, S. B. Ghag, y T. R. Ganapathi, “FocSge1 in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense race 1 is essential for full virulence”, BMC Microbiology, vol. 20, núm. 1, p. 255, ago. 2020, doi: 10.1186/s12866-020-01936-y