Factories and employees

Hi guys,

I am trying to master a project, which would involve microorganisms for the production of unique “matter.” The setup ideally should not require bsl1 for its production. Marc proposed to work on the production of chymosin, which does not need bsl1 in Switzerland (at least). Chymosin could be interesting as it has already some history behind hackteria, and is widely used in the industry. For having the produced matter “unique” I could imagine using point mutations. But perhaps there are also other, more elegant ways to come up with the expected results. Any comments?



i’d love to continue our cheesy discussions with some friends i just met in CCL. Marc Juul and others there work on the Real-Vegan Cheese. but again, i think it’s super interesting to try to make our own rennet using some recombinant tech, look again at the patents, and do this as fun workshop with the public.

old notes are here:


and here:


Thanks Marc for sending over the references – it feels like the collaboration could develop into something more than workshop, including (artistic) research, manuals, and project presentations. One of the TOP colleagues, Juan, is very much into the patents and his contribution could be also valuable. Now, some practical things. Would it make sense to set up some date/place for the hand-on part and use the time to prepare us for the experimentation? – I have noticed, that having deadlines mobilizes people:)

or… we just make pot.


Dear Miga

Yes this could turn out to be much fruitful especially with the Humus Sapiens project.

Crisper beer yeast to make Marijuana sounds like fun, but within humus sapiens focusing more on sequencing wild herbs and find mout more about their resilience or high value of nutrients could be much fruitful as well.

Thanks Marc and Maya for your inputs. Making pot would be even more inspiring as making rennet, so lets see how the discussion develops and where we will end up. Sequencing could become of course a part of the project as you can prove the success of the experiments.
I would be happy seeing in the boat the rest of humus sapiens group, just, not so sure yet how resilience could become part of the use of recombinant tech. Maybe we should allocate same importance for being resilient/fragile? Being fragile I think is not wrong, often probably is even better – the idea of evolution is to be able to adapt to the environment, not necessarily to be “strong.” I think that paying attention to being “resilient” is very much about making $$, unless the theme refers to antibiotic industry. But this is a bit off topic already… To summarize, I would be glad researching both - resilience and fragility - in parallel, but still in the context of employing bacteria for the production of recombinant matter.

Dear Miga and Marc
…hm, is it so interesting to make pharmaceutical THC? I think making rennet, or the vegan variant of it still more inspiring. Why not making vitamin C or the essential amino assid Tyrosine which is a precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine?
Or another stimulating neurotransmitter?

I haven’t done the calculation on THC synthesis but the amount of THC in existing plants is already really high so competing might not be that easy and at the same time do you really want to switch production from a method that extracts CO2 to a method that generates CO2? Hrm. I’m personally not interested in that at all. You can talk to the rest of the Real Vegan Cheese team on our mailing list: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ccl-igem

1 Like

good point! i also think it’s more interesting to produce a “fine speciality chemical” that’s hard to get otherwise. not something that we have other easy means to produces large masses of (no comment on the cheese).
stuff like fragrants, enzymes, catalysts, stuff that has an effect in small quantitites.

thinking about your @miga original metaphor to factories and employees… even rennet (chymosin) is extremely cheap, it’s not about replacing, but having our own “factories” is kinda fun, and even the molecule itself is then later “employed” to concentrate / enrich the protein parts of the milk.

there is a chance to get some money for these developements with a job in collaboration with a biosafety lab from the Canton of Zurich. i’d be happy to merge that into it, Miga.

Thanks Marc and everybody for the further comments. So far I do not have a preference in what to produce and would be happy to develop the production line together. I am also open to the quality, it could also have an opposite effect compared to the established market products – I am not interested in industrial success. fragrants, enzymes, catalysts are all good. So far I have given quite a bit of thought on rennet and I would be definitely interested in going this direction.
@dusjagr it would be great if you would include the proposal into the application. Till we generate some funds, the idea will develop, I believe, to a substantial size in order to start a hands-on part.

made me think about slaves… not employees.
in our case of having “them” produce a speciality enzyme under relatively sweet and nutritious conditions, produce as much as possible without “them” dying.
but then we’ll take it away, and we will keep them under captivity (Use of GMO in enclosed systems) or kill them and make sure none of them are released alive into freedem (the wild).

@miga please document your thoughts and research. this would be a good place to add:

Ahoj everyone!! Great discussion!! :slight_smile:

Concerning the employee/slave question
I see the domestication of microbes as a form of agriculture or husbandry. Actually one of the oldest forms – invented by the first eukaryotes at least 1600 million years ago.

The way we treat our genetically modified bacteria or yeasts might be compared to industrial livestock farming – e.g. for chicken eggs. To harvest most of the products that they produce we actually have to kill them and destroy their bodies. We invented quite sophisticated methods to do that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_disruption

The general question of dependency and slavery is very philosophical… it would be great to discuss this in the context of domestication, agriculture and biotechnology.

for THC and most other plant products, I also don’t see the point. it would be great to produce something that is otherwise really hard to get. like human insulin, etc. - what about other hormones or enzymes? maybe something that would be useful for self-sufficient eco-industrial communities?

hello hello

There has been new online classes from Josiah Zayner, you can watch all of them with free access on his youtube channel here:

It is a big groupe around 100 people who are collecting ideas and thoughts on the subject and some of them also interested in the topic of wild herbs, medical plants and others.

other with our zurich section, we started to collect some menstruation blood for creating transhuman petridishes and grow things. Maybe you guys have some ideas? what to do further? Any thoughst, ideas and critics welcome.

also here a good link:


is interesting site, talking about the practical use of gene-editing and democratics in a broader sense. and the next biohackingclass together with Josiah, will host on of the heroin of the film Georg Church so there is an opportunity for open question/answer setting.

lets categorize:

feel free to participate in the hackteria forum on the biohacking class in the other forum here: https://forum.hackteria.org/t/biohacking-101-class-happening-now/474/25

All best


Maya Minder

Hello everybody,
thank you for all further discussion and ideas. Sorry for being silent for a while – was waiting for the answer regarding possible budgets. Finally, I have good news and we could plan further activities. So far not that much budget (2,5k eur), but a good start I guess?
I believe, chymosin is the best idea to proceed, so please, everyone, raise your hands if any further interest, so we could combine our thoughts and allocate the budget for travel, materials, reagents, thoughts, and, accommodation if needed.

1 Like

Hoi Miga et. al…

having great discussions here with @tomatofunk about what kinda fun stuff we could let our little helpers or “employees in factories” produce. also looking into other little buggers, than the usual e.coli poopers, such as acetobacters that produce cellulose, we can use lab-strains or get some wild ones isolated from rotten fruits, ananas skin or whatever…

It’s a very common thing here in the tropics known as Nata de Coco, kinda jelly desert produced by fermenting coconut juice and the cellulose turns it into a jelly. So whatever we produce in them, we can serve it as desert, it’s edible!! See more notes on hackteria wiki

So where are the “employees” and what is the “factory” on this image (taken from here)?

and of course the recent results of making psilocybin could be of interest…

we are now planning a more deeper genetics workshop to learn ourselves more about these techniques practically, and as we went through all the simple regulatory practices in Switzerland, we can legally continue with whatever fun GMO experiments on BSL1 level.
Still trying to find a good time and date for doing so…

Looking deeper into the Nata de Coco factories…

I would really like to do something on this scale… with our without psilocybin in it.

Thanks, Marc for the further research/ideas, yeah, the scale is the nice one :slight_smile:
Great news re GMO experiments on BSL1 level, if you will find a date to play around, maybe we could try to join forces. So probably, the step 1 would be to work on a suspension/starter, step 2 would be to scale the amount, step 3 - to get BSL1 for publicly accessible space, and finally to make an installation including a hands-on part.
Thinking of scale, lactobacillus/streptococcus could also do the thing. And conceptually we could think of developing the project into therapeutic terms.

1 Like