This month we went to the "Salon de l'agriculture" at Salon-de-Provence. This gathering unite farmers and olive growers from all over France, in order to acknowledge and advise people on the current development in farming sectors. This event allowed us to took notice of their awareness about Xylella fastidiosa and we talked about what kind of product would fit their needs (injection, vaporisation..).
Along this month, we started the wetlab. We produced some construction and we received some of our sequence design. We loved to truly experience working in a lab. Moreover we had a lot of fun with dry ice.
One of our team members went to Bristol in order to meet the Bristol iGEM Team. This opportunity help us to found out each other's projects.
Finally, we showed our project in front of the whole Institut de Microbiologie de la Méditerranée (IMM). This presentation was in front of more than 50 researchers. Fortunately, our general feedback was great and it seems that we are going the right way.
This month we saw the fruition of our designs and the beginning of our construction plan. It was rough, we thought through every detail of our scheme. On top of that, we had to studies for the final exam. However, we manage to power through and succeed. In addition, we got a lot further with the human practice axe of our project, as we realise surveys intended for olive growers. Thus, those data will help us understand their views in regards of our design. Thereby, how to meet their expectation.
We participated to the March for Science in Marseille. We found it important to show our support to science, institutions and the role they play in improving our society through inovation. We think that encouraging scientific research is an investment for future generations.
This month we got the pleasure to interview Mireille Ansaldi a researcher at the Laboratoire de Chimie Bactérienne (LCB) at the IMM, CNRS, Marseille. She is a specialist in bacteriophages and works on phages-host interaction. She also studies Xylella fastidiosa bacteriophages. Mireille Ansaldi gave us precious information and guided us in the use of biocontrol phages.
Along this month we began working on multiple axes to find a solution for X. fastidiosa. The first was a quorum sensing system against this bacterium to disturb the growth of the bacteria. We choose also to study bacteriophage as a biocontrol tool. At last, we aim to target the toxin-antitoxin system, which regulates the synthesis of biofilm.
We started exploring the human practice side of our project to help us in our research. Indeed, we are attached to find an environmentally friendly and non GMO cure for the olive trees. So we contacted Afidol, an association of olive growers, to understand their needs and the expectation they have. This month, we also choose the logo and the project name: "Kill Xyl".
February was the beginning of our journey in the iGEM competition and the Aix-Marseille team was created. We had some heated discussion when it was time to choose the project. But we decided to fight against Xylella fastidiosa, because of the millions of plants being wiped out by this deadly bacterium and the risk of an uncontrollable spread of the bacterium. We preferred to target the strain X. fastidiosa pauca because this strain is the one ravaging olive trees in Italy and is coming to France.