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Paper-based detection device for spoiled milk

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Biology
DOI: 10.18258/13925
Grant: iGEM 2019 Challenge
$3,105
Raised of $3,000 Goal
103%
Funded on 9/12/19
Successfully Funded
  • $3,105
    pledged
  • 103%
    funded
  • Funded
    on 9/12/19

About This Project

We are developing a paper-based cell free system that detects spoiled milk. Relying on the detection of AHL molecules used by bacteria in quorum sensing, our system will be a synthetic gene network freeze-dried on paper. We hypothesize that with a working system when AHL is present the system will produce a red pigment providing a visual cue the milk is spoiled. Because spoiled milk contains bacteria producing AHL, when our system comes into contact with spoiled milk the paper should turn red.





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What is the context of this research?

Quorum sensing is a biological mechanism that regulates gene expression in response to cell population density. In quorum sensing bacteria, molecules known as N-Acyl homoserine lactones (AHL) are used to communicate and regulate daily processes such as virulence, competence, conjugation, antibiotic production, motility, and sporulation. As AHL concentrations increase, it can be concluded that bacterial cell population density increases. We plan to take advantage of this to create a bionsensor that will detect AHL levels and determine when milk products are spoiled.

What is the significance of this project?

Expiration dates on dairy products help consumers ensure quality and safety. Although expiration dates reflect products at their best nutritional value and freshness, they do not mean that products spoil immediately after the date. To avoid liability companies often set their expiration dates too far in advance of spoilage. As a result, an estimated 1/6th of world's dairy is wasted every year. Our project aims to reduce the amount of dairy waste produced by providing a quantitative way of determining if milk products are spoiled or not.

What are the goals of the project?

Our goal is to design a paper based cell free system that will detect when milk has spoiled. The system will rely on the detection of AHL molecules used by milk bacteria in quorum sensing. When AHL is present, the system will produce a red pigment, providing a visual cue that the milk is spoiled. The system will be transferred to a cell free system and ultimately freeze dried onto a paper based platform known as a synthetic gene network. The paper prototype will be tested by adding a drop of potentially spoiled milk onto the paper test strip. Using samples of known AHL quantities, the strip will be calibrated to produce a color chart similar to a pH strip chart.

Budget

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As an entirely student-run lab group, we count on your support to acquire the materials necessary to run experiments, make progress on our project, and travel to Boston to present our project. We rely entirely on donations and from sources such as University of Michigan Academic Departments, generous corporations, and fundraising opportunities like this. Your contribution will directly fund the supplies we need to continue the research process and make this paper-based detection system possible.

This includes enzymes, PCR reagents, a Mutagenesis kit, a cell free system kit, and high efficiency cloning cells. Another segment of our budget will go to sequence confirmation of our construct during assembly.

Another portion of our budget goes toward operating our lab, and paying for supplies such as glass and plastic-ware and micro-pipettes.

Lastly, the rest of our budget goes to funding our travel to the iGEM competition in Boston in October.

Endorsed by

The approach to detect spoiled milk is important, as it presents an easy and economical means to rigorously assess milk quality. I am particularly enthusiastic regarding the work because of the dedication and initiative of the UM Synthetic Biology Team. The Team is fully student run and funded, so the contributions are extremely meaningful for the advancement of the work, and I strongly endorse the project.

Flag iconProject Timeline

Cloning of our construct and conducting our cell free system and milk spoilage experiments began in June and will continue through the summer. We anticipate that our construct will be completed in early August.

Following isolation and sequencing of the construct, we will put the construct into a cell free system and run quantification of AHL experiments.

We will then begin experimentation with our cell free system on paper, with results expected by the end of October.

Jun 01, 2019

Project Launch 

Aug 01, 2019

Complete Construct Cloning

Aug 13, 2019

Project Launched

Aug 16, 2019

Complete Milk Spoilage and AHL Quantification Experiments 

Aug 31, 2019

Complete cell free system experiments with GFP

Meet the Team

Richelle Wilson
Richelle Wilson
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Fiona Li
Fiona Li
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Rachel Lee
Rachel Lee
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Joshua Sodicoff
Joshua Sodicoff
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Olatunji Osobamiro
Olatunji Osobamiro
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Eric Musa
Eric Musa
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Khushboo Patel
Khushboo Patel
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Frank Ferrari
Frank Ferrari
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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William Chen
William Chen
Web Developer

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Annabelle St. Pierre
Annabelle St. Pierre
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Thaddeus Tripp
Thaddeus Tripp
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Shaunak Puri
Shaunak Puri
Student Researcher

Affiliates

University of Michigan
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Team Bio

Richelle Wilson

I am a rising junior studying Materials Science Engineering. My research interests include CRISPR, targeted immunotherapy for autoimmune diseases and cancer, and Magnesium alloys for Biomedical implants. I am passionate about the environment and Synthetic Biology. In my free time, I listen to scientific podcasts and practice yoga.

Fiona Li

Hi I'm Fiona and I'm a rising Junior at the University of Michigan, studying Cellular Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering. I'm always intrigued by the blend of biological science and engineering, as well as how biotechnology have changed our lives. Besides being part of the team, I am also doing regenerative medicine research on islet transplantation. When I'm outside of lab, I enjoy playing tennis and going to concerts.

Rachel Lee

I am a rising senior at the University of Michigan. I am studying Cellular Molecular Biology and Psychology.

Joshua Sodicoff

I'm a rising sophomore in Biomedical Engineering. My interests span from single cell genomics and synthetic biology to entrepreneurship and podcasting. You can usually find me wandering aimlessly around the Arb or listening to NPR on a Bursley-Baits bus.

Olatunji Osobamiro

Hello! My name is Olatunji Osobamiro, and I am a rising second-year undergraduate at the University of Michigan with a concentration in Cellular and Developmental Biology. Likewise, I am an active member of the University of Michigan Synthetic Biology Team due to my love for the subject. I am also going to be involved in cell cycle control research using fruit flies as a model. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my friends playing sports, eating out and playing video games.

Eric Musa

Hi! My name is Eric Musa, I am a rising third-year undergrad at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, studying Chemical Engineering. I am an active member of the Michigan Synthetic Biology Team, and find the field of biological engineering extremely fascinating! I also do computational chemistry research, so a good lot of my time is spent in either a computer lab or a biology lab. I like to cook and exercise (so that I can eat my cooking), and I also write poetry, draw, and work on side-projects in my free time! Go Blue!

Khushboo Patel

I am a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan studying Neuroscience and Evolutionary Anthropology. Outside of the Michigan Synthetic Biology Team, my research interests include studying the activation of inhibitory and excitatory cell types in the Prefrontal Cortex in response to stress. In my free time, I enjoy working as a student docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History!

Frank Ferrari

My name is Frank Ferrari, I am a Junior at the University of Michigan studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology with a Minor in Business.

William Chen

Hi! My name is William, and I'm a rising sophomore studying at U of M. I'm in charge of developing the Mich iGEM website, which you can access here: https://2019.igem.org/Team:Michigan (It's still in development please go easy on me).

Annabelle St. Pierre

As a junior at the University of Michigan, I am studying Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in biochemistry. I plan to obtain a master's degree in Biomedical Engineering and use my knowledge to advance medical devices and/or pharmaceutical drugs.

Thaddeus Tripp

I am a Junior at the University of Michigan studying Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in biochemistry.

Shaunak Puri

I am a biomedical engineering major planning to pursue a career in intellectual property law. I am the social and marketing director for the Michigan Synthetic Biology Team and I also participate in the wet lab work. Fun fact: I have been a gymnast since I was 5 years old.

Additional Information


Project Backers

  • 29Backers
  • 103%Funded
  • $3,105Total Donations
  • $107.07Average Donation
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