Team:Estonia TUIT/Hardware


Our protease and its inhibitor required a convenient method of delivery, which is suitable for everyday carry, can hold both compounds separately and is easy to use. Therefore, we created a two-compartment bottle which we called P.A.P.I.C. - Protease Assured Plaque Internal Cleaner


This year, our team devised an innovative method of preventive dental care. The method includes the use of an engineered protease to cleave the human SALSA protein that is used by cariogenic bacteria to attach to the teeth. For this, we needed a way of applying the protease in the mouth.

We conducted a survey among potential users to find the preferred way of applying our product. The survey results showed that delivery in the form of a spray is one of the most popular preferences. This drove us to create our in-house designed and produced spray - P.A.P.I.C. ( Protease Assured Plaque Internal Cleaner )

In addition to developing P.A.P.I.C., we had to solve the problem of storing the protease, since proteases have to be stored at low temperatures to maintain the activity, in the best case scenario at -20 °C. To overcome the storage problem we propose the following scheme of distribution: the protease and its inhibitor kept in bigger bottles that are stored at low temperature and are used to refill P.A.P.I.C.

This packing allows the consumer to carry a small amount of the protease solution that can be used up before it degrades, which would happen within a couple of days at room temperature. Also, in this setup, only one spray bottle is needed. This distribution scheme is beneficial to the environment because P.A.P.I.C. is refillable, which leads to decreased plastic pollution.

The model below shows a simplified prototype, which is of higher volume for demonstrative purposes.

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We focused on using trypsin as a starting point for the engineered protease, because trypsin has several non-toxic inhibitors (e.g. α1-antitrypsin) that enable us to limit the time of protease activity and avoid excessive cleavage of other proteins. This meant, however, that we had to invent a convenient way to provide the protease and its inhibitor in the same package without mixing the two. This led us to use a two-compartment spray bottle design with two separate spray heads and caps. This design has advantages over the alternatives:

- it is simpler than one spray head and three-way valve (closed, trypsin, inhibitor), making it more reliable;
- it is slimmer than two spray heads on one side implementation and spray head and three-way valve because it does not have two separate same size compartments side by side;
- the implemented design is more convenient for everyday use, especially in smaller form factors.

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The implemented design is color-coded, so two sides can be easily distinguished. The label is separated into two colors: purple for the protease and blue for inhibitor.

Prototype technical description:

  • Two caps: maximal diameter - 29 mm, length - 43 mm
  • Two spray heads
  • Body with two internal compartments
  • Length - 207 mm; Maximal diameter - 29 mm
  • The volume of each compartment is 30 ml

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