Squid and bacteria-based hydrogels with healing properties
The iGEM team's project revolved around suckerin, a protein found in the sucker ring teeth of Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas). Uniquely, suckerin is both flexible, astringent and durable. The team from Leiden found a way to culture the protein in a harmless E.coli research strain, from which it then developed a hydrogel that can be used as protective donor skin for burn victims. The gel can also be supplemented with slow-release medicines that have a healing effect on damaged skin.
The iGEM team demonstrated how suckerin is extracted from bacteria during Micropia's 5th anniversary on 28 and 29 September and the Weekend of the Wetenschap science weekend. In addition to being the only world's only microbe museum, Micropia serves as a unique showcase where researchers can demonstrate the latest biotech developments in the field of microbiology to a broad audience. Visitors had the opportunity to carry out tests and find out how E. coli bacteria are cultured, discover how the protein is extracted from the bacteria and cast hydrogel for themselves.