Welcome to Waterloo iGEM 2019!
Despite playing an important role in protecting crops, herbicides can negatively impact the rhizosphere by interfering with root nodule formation. Rhizobia are soil bacteria that form beneficial relationships with agriculturally important legumes. These microorganisms form root nodules and fix nitrogen gas into ammonia, which plants need to grow. Farmers using herbicides that interfere with biological nitrogen fixation need to apply more nitrogen fertilizers. The runoff from these fertilizers causes nutrient pollution. Therefore, we aim to minimize the use of nitrogen fertilizers. To do this, we are engineering Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens USDA110 to have the ability to form root nodules with soybeans in the presence of the herbicide linuron. We hope to confer herbicide tolerance by giving B. diazoefficiens the ability to biologically transform the herbicide and dampen its toxicity. Agriculture is a large component of our community. This project hopes to provide constructive synthetic biology solutions that support current agricultural practices.