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 . 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.
- All about Locusts on National Geographic
- Locust watch
- Simpson and Sword. Locusts (Current Biology 2008 May 6;18(9):R364-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.02.029)
- 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)
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