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E. chromi Designer Bacteria Will Color Your Poop According to What Ails You

Posted By Ana Lisa On January 25, 2012 @ 2:20 pm In Design for Health,green technology | 4 Comments

Design for Health, designer bacteria, cientific design, royal college of art, University of Cambridge's iGEM, poo,Poo Power!, colored poo, illness,e. chromi

E. chromi [1] is an experimental collaboration between designers and scientists working in the field of synthetic biology. Royal College of Art [2] graduates’ James King and Daisy Ginsberg [3], together with University of Cambridge’s iGEM 2009 Biology team [4], are developing a cheap, personalized disease monitoring system that works from the inside out. By color-coding diseases and giving a patient an E. Coli bacteria-engineered drink — much like a probiotic shake — sick patients could soon find out what ails them by simply checking the color of their poop!


Design for Health, designer bacteria, cientific design, royal college of art, University of Cambridge's iGEM, poo,Poo Power!, colored poo, illness,e. chromi

Ginsberg, one of the designers in the team, explains how the bacteria works: “The patient ingests a drink, much like a probiotic shake, laced with the engineered E. coli; the bacteria react with the enzymes, proteins, and other chemicals that are present in the gastrointestinal tract and turn different colors for different diseases, thus changing the color of the patient’s feces [5].”

A finalist in last year’s Index Awards [6], and a winner of the World Technology Awards [7], E. chromi’s design gives us access to the complex networks and systems of the human body. Moreover, E. chromi has valuable, real-life applications for many disciplines outside of the medical word. In the future, chemical-free colorings and dyes made by bacteria could be used in food, and in the textiles industry, producers can use the new pigments as dye for clothing.

+ E. chromi [1]

+ Daisy Ginsberg [3]

Photo © Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg & James King


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/e-chromi-designer-bacteria-will-color-your-poop-according-to-what-ails-you/

URLs in this post:

[1] E. chromi: http://www.echromi.com/

[2] Royal College of Art: http://inhabitat.com/photos-the-best-green-designs-at-london%E2%80%99s-royal-college-of-art-graduate-show/5/

[3] Daisy Ginsberg: http://www.daisyginsberg.com

[4] University of Cambridge’s iGEM 2009 Biology team: http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/news/stories/2010/iGEM2009/

[5] feces: http://inhabitat.com/cow-power-how-methane-will-power-your-house/

[6] Index Awards: http://www.indexaward.dk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31&Itemid=9

[7] World Technology Awards: http://www.wtn.net/summit2011/finalists.html

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