Beetector – University of Calgary iGEM – Calgary, AB
Building biosensors for detecting American Foulbrood bacterial infections in honey bees.
|Team Grade Level:||Undergraduate|
|Team Experience Level:||Advanced|
|STEM Focus:||Synthetic Biology|
Beetector is a synthetic biology project utilizing aptamers, single-stranded DNA molecules that bind to specific targets, to act as an electrochemical biosensor to detect American Foulbrood (AFB). AFB is a highly contagious disease caused by the bacterial pathogen, Paenibacillus larvae, which kills developing honeybee broods. As the Albertan agricultural sector is under duress due to a rapidly changing climate, methods to ensure sustainability are critical. Existing field tests lack high sensitivity and work best during active infection. These methods fail to detect the presence of dormant P. larvae spores. Beetector targets dormant spores as the protein membranes on the P. larvae are targeted. Beetector is essential in tackling the pressing need for an alternative method for reliable detection, early diagnosis, and effective treatment of P. larvae.