WUR’s iGEM team placed second in Boston last week during the annual global synthetic biology competition.
© Xylencer, WUR
The team called Xylencer developed a therapy to “silence” the dreaded bacterial disease Xyllela fastidiosa. This bacterium has been highly active in olive plantations (Italy) and vineyards (California). Xyllela has not yet been reported in the Netherlands. The Wageningers devised a method to tackle the bacterium using genetically modified bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are viruses that use bacteria as a host to multiply.
Xylencer came in second in Boston behind a team from the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Swiss developed a rapid test to detect the phytoplasma bacteria in grapevines. It is the third time that Wageningen reached second place. This was previously achieved in 2014 and 2016. A total of 353 teams from all around the globe participated this year. Xylencer took first place in the Food & Nutrition Project category and also won the prize for Best Poster.