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Honey Bee


The Technion team also ranked in the top five for community contribution at the prestigious iGEM competition. 

By United with Israel Staff

A team of Technion students won a gold medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in Boston, October 21-November 4, for developing a technology that creates honey without bees. The team also ranked in the top five in the category of community contribution. This is the sixth gold medal the Technion has won in this competition over the years.

According to the iGEM website, the Technion’s vision is to create a “sustainable ‘bee-free’ honey using engineered bacteria, which will process a nectar-like solution using secreted enzymes that mimic the honey stomach environment” with the end result being honey that is tailor made to provide a range of desired applications. “Honey possesses unique properties that make it highly attractive in fields such as medicine, cosmetics, and the food industry,” noted the description.

iGEM began in January 2003 and has expanded to include 340 teams, 42 countries and over 5,000 participants. It is an “independent, non-profit organization dedicated to education and competition, the advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of an open community and collaboration,” according to its website.

Supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Technion, the 12 student team came from six different faculties: Biomedical Engineering; Medicine; Biotechnology and Food Engineering; Industrial Management and Engineering; Chemical Engineering; and Aerospace Engineering. Members included: Asaf Licht; Lior Haim; Zeinat Awwad; Nir Litver; Mai Dror; Ofri Warsha; Ilan Brajzblat; Oriyet Tibi; Yehonatan Zur; Dor Ben Meir; Shira Levi; and Lidya Tannenzapf.

The competition not only seeks innovations that uses synthetic biology, but participants must also demonstrate social contribution. With this in mind, the Technion team “held a unique Hackathon on environmental issues and sustainability.”

Forty-four top students in grades 10-12 from Haifa participated in the Hackathon. The winner was the “The Green Choice” group, which developed a method to reduce the amount of food waste in the world through an application that allows supermarkets to offer lower prices on products that are about to expire.

This innovation placed the Technion team among the top five in the iGEM Community Engagement category.

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