This year, we are pleasured to invite BIT-China, who shares with us the interest in personalized favor, as our partner. BIT-China is committed to constructing a Creative Tasting Officer based on human taste receptors to quantify the basic tastes of umami, sweetness and bitterness. Throughout the year, we achieved an efficient cooperation in experiment, HP investigation and software.
This year, BIT-China and UCAS-China are both interested in increasing the diversity of daily foods. Food safety is the first difficulty we need to conquer. At the beginning of the project, we cooperated to investigate laws and regulations on food safety within and beyond China. As a result, we obtained a clear compass on how to design our product to meet the food safety requirements as well as a deeper understanding of the relationship between scientific research and legal policy.
- Requirements for the commercialization of food additives and processing aids in China are strict and comprehensive, there is a long way to go from lab to commercialization.
- An imbalance exists between scientific research and legal policy of genetically modified food, many applications are still not approved; we look forward to the early introduction of a set of sound policies so that our investment in scientific research may pay off.
To make sure the product meets the need of most people, BIT-China and UCAS-China both decided to develop WeChat miniprogram to realize the personalized use of products. Upon coding, we work together to figure out how to design am applet so that it can be user-friendly. We also delivered questionnaires to collect suggestions from our potential users. We discussed in detail about how to design the collection module so that it is
- Miniprograms, apps and websites are efficient way to collect information from and communicate with end users.
- The information collection module should be comprehensive with no offence, which requires elaborate design and multiple trial tests. By trying each team’s programs, we both obtained useful suggestions.
- Single function is not enough to attract and maintain users, after discussion, we decided to add more functions related to daily lives into the programs. In DeCaffi miniprogram, we combined caffeine intake with sleep condition and heart rate to calculate a recommend upper limit of caffeine intake. In Flavor Card, BIT-China combined flavor preferences with color, mood and dish preferences to give the user a unique feedback.
Traditional decaffeinate method impacts flavor materials in the coffee beans and thus leading to a sour taste. Only transferring caffeine, our method has the potential to keep the coffee flavor while decaffeinating. Conversations with a worker from Starbucks Reserve and manager of Metal Hands coffee shop inspired us that even though theacrine may bring in bitter taste or tea flavor, developing a special coffee is also a good choice. Thus, we became interested in the differences in people’s taste preferences. To have a better understanding, we invited BIT-China to share their opinions and survey results. According to their survey, close to half of the responses are willing to try new flavors, which gave us confidents in our project. As we haven’t produced a drinkable coffee using DeCaffi for taste experiment, we also invited BIT-China to help us detect the quantitative effects of caffeine and theacrine on bitterness.
Public Willingness of Trying New flavors By BIT-China
- Homogenization exists in condiments.
- There are notable differences in people’s flavor preferences.
Beyond competition, UCAS-China 2021 is committed to construct iGEM Online, an online education platform for new iGEMers and new teams. We invited BIT-China to join in the plan. In October, the new recruiting season, we held a little conference to share previous recruitment process and discuss how to recruit, select and train new members to create a diverse and energetic team.
- Give potential new members some theory and experiment training before selection may help construct a more motivated team, while it is also a good way to expand the impact of iGEM teams and synthetic biology on campus.
Although because of the pandemic, our cooperation and communications were through the internet,both two teams achieved improvement and promotion through the partnership and built a strong friendship. Hope we can have the opportunity to meet offline and continue the cooperation in future competitions.