Engineering a Trojan Horse

A strategy to rid crops of locusts.

Massive locust swarms have threatened the food security of communities and cities in East Africa, Asia and the Middle East [1 – 3].

In 2020, eleven ambitious students, representing TU Delft, are competing in iGEM, the largest synthetic biological competition in the world. are working hard to tackle this problem. Their mission is to develop a sustainable bio-pesticide through responsible innovation and collaboration. By engineering a bacteriophage that would hijack the locust microbiome to produce a novel endotoxin, they hope to create a specific, scaleable and biologically safe method to kill locusts when they swarm [4]. By doing this, they aim for food security and economic stability across the globe to achieve a brighter future for all. During this podcast, they will discuss the crisis and how they are planning to use this trojan horse bacteriophage as a biopesticide.


  1. All about Locusts on National Geographic
  2. Locust watch
  3. Simpson and Sword. Locusts (Current Biology 2008 May 6;18(9):R364-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.02.029)
  4. Wu et. al. Novel Bacillus thuringiensis δ-Endotoxin Active against Locusta migratoria manilensis (Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 May; 77(10): 3227–3233.doi: 10.1128/AEM.02462-10)

© ShebaAJ, iGEM TU Delft

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Leave a reply