Bees & Beer UPDATE

We met with Leslie on 3/21 to discuss synthesizing yeast that produces Hops beta acids. Given previous research, this seems very possible.

As we understand it, the process of making humulone is as follows:

Isovaleryl-coA (byproduct of Leucine metabolism) + 3 malonyl coA  (present in yeast)

—>

PIVP (3-methyl-1…) + 2 DMAPP [part of Mevalonate pathway]

—>

Humulone (Bitter Acids)

It seems that researchers, for another reason, have created yeast that produce PIVP.

Our project will focus on the relationship between bees and yeast. Our ideal Beer of the Future creates a self-sustaining ecosystem that is beneficial to both bees and yeast.

How Bees and Yeast can create a circular economy:

  1. Our synthesized yeast creates hops beta acids that kill varroa mites (a major factor in colony collapse disorder).These acids are extracted to protect the hives.
  2. The yeast feeds off the honey produced by the bee hives.
    This fermented liquid, flavored with both honey and the hops acids inherent in the yeast, is sold for human consumption. This provides a steady flow of funding for the colony.
  3. The “used” yeast is fed to the bees as a pollen supplement. This is already a common practice in beekeeping.

March 10 – Begin brewing beer
March 25 – Add honey to beer
                    Begin brewing mead
March 29 – Confirming w/ Leslie re Yeast
                     Conceptual Flow & Design [how will this work?]
                     Brew
April 5 – Design
               Beer is ready!!
April 12 – Build with Chester/Kadallah
                  Design Assets
April 19 – Brew
April 26 – present

How much honey does yeast need?

Biodesign3: Synthetically Speaking

I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Mitchell speak last week and I left feeling fixated on the idea of this entirely synthetically created organism. Close up, I understand how it works and the interest in pursuing such an endeavor, but from afar, it’s crazy! A la the Center for Genomic Gastronomy, I would love to get my hands on some of those early synthetic strains to brew some man-made beer. Even though Dr. Mitchell attests it would taste horrible, I think it’s interesting for 2 reasons: A. Being able to taste the difference between nature and man-made constructions and B. Beer is one of the oldest drinks on the planet and one of our first “domesticated” organisms, so it’s would be fascinating to get to a point where we have elimated the need for the naturally occuring species that we’ve relied on for so many years….even if that need was just to get drunk. It speculates on what the future of our relationship to the natural world is in an era of synthetically created organisms.

Re the Biodesign challenge, if this idea doesn’t qualify, I would love to talk to other people in the class to bounce ideas around and see if I could be part of a team!

 

Microbiomes

A microbiome and ‘good’ bacteria is not a novel concept for me. Much of my undergrad was spent in the microbiology department of a university that had a flourishing (pun fully intended) reputation relating to probiotics research. I remember after one advanced microbiology class, I asked my mom for some obscure probiotics from Japan that my professor had religiously espoused. They were prohibitively expensive, especially considering any benefits of probiotics can only manifest after consistent, and long-term use, but nonetheless, Santa delivered that year.

I say that just as a preface to the idea that sometimes science is really bad at understanding things as a whole, particularly on an intuitive level, since they spend so much of their time dissecting the micro and miniscule. Much of biology is replicated in a test tube or in an organism that is not only dissimilar in body, but also in environment. I’ve only come to understand this after taking a step back and better understanding the connection between the physical and mental self. As such, I’m immediately skeptical of any one piece of the puzzle that is titled ‘The Next Big Thing,’ however interesting it may be up close. At the risk of sounding like Avatar James Cameron, our cognitive experience is shaped by the constantly evolving world around and inside of us in a constant feedback loop. It is this extremely complicated and delicate interconnection which I find infinitely fascinating.
On that note, Check this amazing project out!

I also found this page which give greater insight into legalities and myths around GMOs.

BioDesign Ideas/Inspo

*I am interested in buying the “Time Lapse Explorer” kit from uBiome company and somehow using that data and my own body as an experiment.
*Analyzing microbial clouds around certain meals. What ‘clouds’ produce better tastes? Could I create “Cloud Bombs?” re this article
*I f*cking love human tear salt. LOVE.
*Cavity fighting Microbe! old but worth investigating
*Skin Care
*Amazing Resource
  – ethylene sensing bacteria
interesting, but terrifying??

Week 1&2:

As I read A Life of Its Own by Michael Spector and he was introducing us to the idea of bacterially-synthesized drugs to treat malaria, my mind immediately went to the problem of scale. To his credit, he quickly discussed this issue in the article, but it is still something that lurks in my mind with so many biotech and food issues: growing uncontaminated cultures en masse is not easy (or cheap) and urban farming isn’t going to get us anywhere. The Farmbot is really fantastic and I like how it uses a computer interface to design your garden – that’s such a smart way to integrate learning using current modes of interaction, particularly in our ‘food production dissociated’ society. However, I’m stuck on scale. What does this look like in a larger setup? While impressively condensed as is, it’s still somewhat impractical for many people (IKEA assembly is a real world problem) and areas . Are these types of inventions useful as a transition or too myopic in scope to live on? Where do we start with problems of this scale?

Also, here is the compost machine I was referencing.

Think of the Alternate/Alternative Now – what does it look like?  Taste like?  Smell like?  Feel like?
What Questions do you want to see answered or problems you’d like to see addressed?
* Issues of scale
* Will we all be farmers in the future?
* Will we have time to farm in the future?
* What’s the deal with drought resistant plants? Are they useful, beneficial?
* What is the legality of gene construction in agriculture?
* Can a monocrop be modified to actually replenish soil?

`
What do you wish you could make?  Think of some of Sebastian’s amazingly whimsical projects.
*
A GMO to prevent cavities 
*
A symbiotic monocrop
* Alternate food packaging
* This
Harness power of microbes to safely dispose of waste or by-products
* Specifically designing a crop capable of withstanding conditions in Madagascar
*
Find inspiration HERE

What science/biology stuff do you want to play with and why?
*
Genetic manipulation (I have experience, though not with plants)