Life Science
Incubator Leiden

iGEM Leiden 2023: PHAse Out microplastics from our diet

Did you know that, on a daily basis, we unknowingly consume 5 grams of microplastics? It doesn’t come as a surprise that us humans aren’t meant to be consuming these microplastics. That’s why the 2023 iGEM Leiden team, PHAse Out, is dedicatedly working on a solution to combat these microplastics from our diet.

The detrimental effects of microplastics

Consuming microplastics doesn’t sound good to most people. However, a significant portion of the population remains unaware of the actual health ramifications associated with the ingestion of microplastics. 

In essence, when we ingest microplastics, we are also ingesting a cocktail of chemicals such as heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (a toxic compound), and pesticides. Consuming these microplastics can potentially result in detrimental health effects.

iGEM Leiden is dedicated to PHAse Out plastic

The iGEM Leiden 2023 team consists of 13 enthusiastic students from University of Leiden. Coming from various disciplines, the team strives to PHAse Out plastic. With the help of synthetic biology and the biodegradable plastic ‘PHA’, the team has a clear mission: removing all microplastics from our diet. 

Biodegradable plastic, PHA, is naturally occurring in bacteria and serves as a form of energy storage, similar to the human body’s storage of excess energy in fat cells. Notably, PHA can be biologically decomposed by bacteria, rendering it environmentally friendly. The incorporation of PHA in agricultural practices holds particular promise as it ensures the absence of microplastics available for plant absorption. This makes it a compelling solution for applications within the agricultural sector.

How can you contribute?

Teams that participate in the global iGEM competition are responsible for their own finances. To secure their participation in this competition and to procure essential laboratory materials, the iGEM Leiden team requires €9800. Will you help them achieve their goal of removing microplastics from our diet and win the 2023 iGEM competition?  

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