Wageningen University: Cattlelyst in top half of iGEM competition 2021 and secures Gold Award

The worldwide synthetic biology competition, iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine), has closed for 2021. With a combination of laboratory experiments, computer simulations, and public outreach activities, the iGEM judges awarded Cattlelyst with the iGEM ‘Gold Award’ which means that the team ended in the top half of the competition. The team also secured nominations for Best Environmental Project, Best Sustainability Project and Best Presentation.

Jenny Bakker, captain of the iGEM team said: “We have been working hard on this project for a long period and we have learned a lot from it. For instance, at the start none of us knew how to develop a scientific project, interact with stakeholders or code a website. A lot of experiences were very new to most of us. We are happy with the results and to be rewarded with the Gold Award and nominations.”

Synthetic biology is an emerging scientific discipline that aims to explore the potential of biological engineering to solve societal problems. The iGEM competition provides students with the experience to tackle larger research projects in the future. This year’s competition attracted over 350 teams from universities and schools across the world, equating to approximately 5000 students.

Cattlelyst Biofilter
The WUR iGEM team consists of ten biotechnology and molecular life science students and is supported by a team of supervisors in the Laboratories of Microbiology and Systems & Synthetic Biology. They produced Cattlelyst, a biofilter that uses synthetically engineered microbes to consume ammonia and methane released by cattle on farms. This innovative solution could help solve a key environmental issue in the Netherlands: how to reduce gas emissions from farms to make the cattle industry more sustainable.

On behalf of the WUR supervision team, Rob Smith adds: “We couldn’t be prouder of the team’s work. They came up with an ambitious project proposal and have worked tirelessly to produce the best results they could. I would also like to thank the supervision team who have helped support the team to this achievement. I am certain that many members of this group are going to do exciting research in the future, leaving their mark on the Dutch scientific landscape.”

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