Title

Interchangeable Pollutant Detection in Arabidopsis

Presenter Information

Erin Nischwitz

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Chemistry

Research Advisor

Westenberg, David J.

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Funding Source

Student Activity Funding Board, Missouri S&T College of Arts, Science, and Business

Abstract

In many cases, testing plants for specific contaminants may require specialized lab equipment, which likely require significant experience and knowledge to operate and interpret. These tests can be time consuming and are only immediately useful to a small, specialized group of people. By genetically engineering Arabidopsis thaliana, in the presence of the common groundwater pollutant trichloroethylene (TCE), a periplasmic binding protein is bound and sets off a signal transduction pathway. The plant will then be prompted to degreen, meaning it will degrade and prevent further production of chlorophyll. The result is an obvious color change to clear. This biosensing technique is useful for a number of reasons. It benefits from the constant large source of groundwater that plants continually uptake, which allows for continuous testing with little intervention. It also is cost effective and does not require highly trained scientist to identify contaminated water. A further benefit of this system is that ideally the periplasmic binding protein can be modified to detect a variety of contaminants in the same way that it would be modified to bind TCE.

Biography

Erin Nischwitz is a junior Chemistry major from Wildwood, MO pursuing an emphasis in pre-med and minors in Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. She has been involved in the iGEM Student Design Team for 3 years and has served as their president for two terms. She is also Vice President for Omega Sigma Service Organization. She intends to continue her education by attending medical school.

Presentation Type

OURE Fellows Final Oral Presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Award

2016-2017 OURE Fellows recipient

Location

Turner Room

Presentation Date

17 Apr 2018, 10:30 am - 11:00 am

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Apr 17th, 10:30 AM Apr 17th, 11:00 AM

Interchangeable Pollutant Detection in Arabidopsis

Turner Room

In many cases, testing plants for specific contaminants may require specialized lab equipment, which likely require significant experience and knowledge to operate and interpret. These tests can be time consuming and are only immediately useful to a small, specialized group of people. By genetically engineering Arabidopsis thaliana, in the presence of the common groundwater pollutant trichloroethylene (TCE), a periplasmic binding protein is bound and sets off a signal transduction pathway. The plant will then be prompted to degreen, meaning it will degrade and prevent further production of chlorophyll. The result is an obvious color change to clear. This biosensing technique is useful for a number of reasons. It benefits from the constant large source of groundwater that plants continually uptake, which allows for continuous testing with little intervention. It also is cost effective and does not require highly trained scientist to identify contaminated water. A further benefit of this system is that ideally the periplasmic binding protein can be modified to detect a variety of contaminants in the same way that it would be modified to bind TCE.