Team:NEFU China/Practices


Usually, bacterial contamination cannot be recognized with naked eyes and many people may eat unsafe yogurt by mistake. We checked the current detecting methods and found that traditional methods contain many cumbersome steps and cannot be used in daily life. So shall we find an easy and handy approach to detect pathogenic bacteria in yogurt? From April 15th to 20th, 2015, we did an online survey among 640 individuals to identify whether our idea was worthy to proceed.
Our survey contained questions about the common sense regarding yogurt and yogurt spoilage. We intentionally distributed our e-questionnaire among people of different ages and backgrounds. The results for questions that have greatly impacted our project are shown below.

According to the result, yogurt is a common food and good for human health. Most people eat yogurt frequently. So it means a lot to reduce the adverse affect caused by spoiled yogurt.

More than half of the people would determine the yogurt quality by the expiration date which appears to be unreliable when yogurt is stored improperly. The appearance of spoiled yogurt may be indistinguishable from the eatable ones. So there are still hidden risks with food safety.

Yogurt is generally safe for eating within the expiration date if it is stored in cold; otherwise it may spoil prior to that date. We have searched the Internet and have found varieties of news about yogurt spoilage within shelf-life. This appeared to be a frequently happening phenomenon, but many people are not aware of it. 

More than three quarters of people would eat yogurt with very close expiration dates. Moreover, according to our statistical data, 80% would still eat the yogurt just before its expiration, although they realized that yogurt may spoil before the expiration date. 

The results of our investigation convinced us that developing a handy and reliable yogurt detecting approach, or “yogurt guarder” named by us, is indeed necessary. This survey do have a great impact on the initiation of our project, since the feedback informed us an urgent need of this detecting method and gave us faith to continue our project. We  hope that our ideas can also inspire other teams with similar purposes in the future.


Public Activity

We did investigation among 600 individuals to determine whether our idea of developing this method was worthy to proceed. 80% of them realized that yogurt may spoil before the expiration date but they will still eat it just before its expiration. The result of our investigation convinced us that developing a reliable yogurt guarder is indeed necessary.


Visiting a dairy factory

Yogurt is popular to millions of people all over the world. It can benefit people mainly due to the "live" bacteria that are good for intestinal health. In order to maintain the nutritive components and original taste, raw milk should be treated by pasteurization during yogurt production to kill most pathogens. Unlike sterilization, the relatively low temperature (up to 80 °C) used in pasteurization may allow a very small amount of pathogenic bacteria to survive this treatment.
Since we were working on a project related to the fermentation and quality inspection process of yogurt, we already explored very much relevant knowledge. We were becoming increasingly clear to the gap between theory and actual practice. So we visited a dairy factory in order to know more about yogurt production.
During this visit, a guide showed us around the workplace and informed us the procedure of actual yogurt production. It was the first time for us to see the huge production equipment in person! Then, to achieve the primary goal of this visit, we consulted with a quality control inspector to learn about the main pathogens in yogurt and the current inspection procedure. We learned that a cup of eatable yogurt may contain certain amount of coliform bacteria, but must not have other common pathogens such as Salmonella or Bacillus. We also learned that coliform bacteria are the most common pathogens in yogurt. So in our subsequent experiments, we chose E. coli to validate the function of our device. Moreover, quality control inspectors utilized plate count to detect coliform bacteria in yogurt. Later on, we applied this method to our tests for the quality of yogurt under different storage conditions in our own experiments. Last but not least, we realized that the conventional detecting methods cannot be easily used in our daily life due to the complicated steps and demands of facilities. 
This visit had a great influence on us. We realized the urgent need for a handy method of detecting pathogens in yogurt and this promoted us to proceed with confidence. Certainly, we knew we still had a long way to go.        




On August 13th, 2015, we attended the Central China iGEM Consortium (CCiC) summit held by Peking University. We presented our project and shared our ideas and experience with other teams. They heard about our project and responded to our presentation with valuable feedback. Besides, the summit also gave us a great opportunity to learn from the excellent projects of others. The meet-up truly promoted communications among iGEMers. Here we express our sincere thanks to them!




Online platform

Wiki building is an essential and tedious step in the iGEM competition. Programmers have to deal with numerous codes if they still follow conventional procedures.
This year, we have created an amazing online platform, Flight iGEM, which will make significant changes to the workflow of wiki building. 
With the Flight iGEM, each member ot a team will be able to participate in their wiki creation.
No matter where you are, you will be able to update the contents of your wiki online. 
Your files can be uploaded to the official server of the iGEM directly through Flight iGEM.
With the contents for wiki and a template you have designed in advance, Flight iGEM can generate a wiki for you automatically.

With the help of Flight iGEM, we hope that all the iGEM teams can say goodbye to the “code soup”. For more details, please visit our page for Flight iGEM.

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