Team:East Chapel Hill HS


Improving the Characterization of a Riboswitch Based Sensor Using a Liquid Media Assay

Fluoride, in appropriate quantities, is recognized as beneficial for protecting tooth enamel from decay. However, a significant problem arises when excess amounts of fluoride are present in drinking water. Consumption of water containing high amounts of fluoride can contribute to dental fluorosis, which manifests in children as hypomineralization of the enamel. The previous East Chapel Hill iGEM teams had attempted to develop a fluoride biosensor using previously characterized fluoride riboswitches. This system, known as the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase operon (CHOP), allows for the transcription of the antibiotic chloramphenicol acetyltransferase in high amounts of fluoride. Thus, when high amounts of fluoride are present, bacterial growth can be observed in the presence of chloramphenicol. In previous years, we encountered issues forming reliable conclusions from our results when using plating assays. This year, we aimed to develop a more throughput liquid media assay which has allowed for quantitative and more accurate characterization of CHOP.