Navigating to Implementation
How do we implement genetically modified E. coli in a filter?
The proposed implementation for the Pac-Coli project is to create a bioreactor that acts as a water filtration system. The idea for a bioreactor was chosen over creating a biofilm because biofilms have variable filtering capabilities and efficiencies according to scientific literature. The bioreactors would contain genetically modified E. coli cultures so that, when water runs through them, microcystin would be degraded. A significant limiting factor would be the rate at which the device can degrade microcystin, as previous attempts at both biofilters or reactors led to a build-up of microcystin. However, with fast enough degradation, this device could aid water treatment companies or environmental activists in dealing with the large algal blooms/microcystin-contaminated waters. Current practices of chemical or physical microcystin degradation are inefficient, costly, and negatively impact the environment. Our bioreactor would be a closed system, limiting any escape of genetically engineered bacteria. Co-cultures could also be implemented to improve the rate of degradation and reduce microcystin toxicity by placing the workload on bacteria other than the genetically engineered E. coli.