IGEM Bordeaux 2015

IGEM Bordeaux 2015

Cur'd Vine

The Problem: Downy Mildew

We all love wine , right?

France is the first producers and exporters of wine, representing approximately 16% of the world production. In fact, Aquitaine is one of the 4 regions which produces the most wine. However, vineyards are threatened by an oomycete called Plasmopara viticola , otherwise known as Downy Mildew which affects the quality of wine by causing irreparable damages to grapevine organs. This microorganism infects the grapevine’s tissues, particularly it's leaves, draining the plant’s resources and preventing its photosynthetic capacities.

The most common preventive treatment used by vineyards in the region is called «bouillie bordelaise» and is composed of copper sulfate , a product which has toxic effects on the surrounding soil. Although this treatment is efficient and does help to protect the plant from harmful microorganisms, this method has a bad environmental and sanitary impact since the copper present in the treatment infiltrates in the ground and prevents the growth of other types of plants, therefore impacting the biodiversity of the region. Furthermore, long term contact with these chemical components can create symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or renal/hepatic dysfunctions for those living in these contaminated areas.

For more information see our Problem Page ☛ click here

Curdlan: Our Solution

This year, iGEM Bordeaux proposes an eco-friendly alternative treatment to prevent Downy Mildew: replacing copper sulfate by Curdlan , a sugar biopolymer which stimulates the plant natural defenses .
The plant naturally defends itself against pathogens through two distinct levels of defenses, an active and a passive defense which both cause a depolarization of the infected cell membrane and trigger the production of antimicrobial metabolites. Curdlan is recognised by the passive defense and activates it, with mechanisms similar to modern day vaccines.

For more information see our Description Page ☛ click here

The organisms

The production of our molecule will be done using non-pathogenic micro-organisms which can easily be grown in our lab: Saccharomyces cerevisiae which naturally produces Curdlan and Escherichia coli , the most common organism used for synthetic biology.
Our bacterial genes and promoters will be synthethized industrially by IDT before being inserted in Escherichia coli whereas for Saccharomyces cerevisiae the gene will be extracted and inserted into a plasmid under the control of a different promoter. These modified cells will then be cultivated to produce our Curdlan molecule in large quantities. The final step of our project will be to extract the curdlan molecule, to optimize our production and to sulfate the molecule if possible since this enhances it's effect on the plant natural defenses.

Team members

Who is going to do all of this you ask?
Well, this year, iGEM Bordeaux's team is made up of 19 devoted students from diverse backgrounds. Whether we become from the Bordeaux University, from a Biotechnologies Engineering School or from a Biochemistry Engineering School, we are all united for this unique project and are willing to give it our all to make it succeed!
In order to do so, we united our scientific knowledge and contacted various researchers to put together our protocols. At the same time, our team has spent time and energy thinking about various non-scientific aspects of our project including how to popularize scientific knowledge to raise awareness on the possibilities of synthetic biology. We have also considered throughout the project ethical and bio-safety thematics in order to insure that our protocols are not hazardous for the environment and that any genetically engineered microorganism is controled within the lab.

For more information look at our Team Page ☛ click here


On behalf of the entire team, we would like to thank our sponsors for allowing us to build this project and present it at the 2015 edition of the Internationnal Genetically Engineered Machine competition! Also we would like to thank our donators!

Next Page: ☛ Problem