1. Minicells are not considered living organisms
A living organism is defined by its ability to maintain, grow, reproduce and adapt. (9) But minicells, because they lack chromosomal DNA, are unable to replicate or grow, therefore, they cannot be defined as living organisms.
2. Minicells cannot be defined as GMOs
Moreover, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms which genetic material has been artificially modified - according to the definition of the European Commission. (10) A part of the system using only minicells and not classical bacterial cells would therefore not be considered at the same level of biosafety. In fact, our hardware device would provide a place for separating mother cells from their minicells. Thus the final product - without engineered bacterial cells - is not considered as a GMO containing system, guaranteeing a higher biosafety level for our hardware.
3. Minicell producing strain can be easily biocontained
The engineered Min-mutantE. coli strain wastes resources producing minicells and then become filamentous. Filamentous cells may grow to 50 to 200 normal cell lengths before growth ceases and lysis occurs (11). Additionally,E. coli K12, so-called a lab strain, is part of the Risk Group 1 (12). In fact, it does not produce toxins and would not be able to proliferate in the human digestive system. is not likely to survive in the outside environment, easing its biocontainment strategy.
4. Minicells to lower the energy cost