Our student team won championship of the Challenge Cup 2015

Our student team won championship of the Challenge Cup 2015

A genetic engineering team formed by two postgraduate students and one undergraduate student of school of life sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has won a top first award and first price award at the first "Challenge Cup" - Hong Kong University Students Extra-curriculum Technology Contest. The team successfully modified the genome of a nitrogen-fixing bacterium aiming to increase the efficiency of sewage treatment, and will compete for the nationwide “Challenge Cup” held in China in this November.


The winning project of the CUHK team was named “Solution for One-step Sewage Treatment”. Current processing of ammonia (NH4+) in sewage treatment works utilizes microbes under sequential aerobic and anaerobic conditions (with and without oxygen respectively). Such two-step method is inefficient to remove nitrogen waste which otherwise causes algal bloom and eutrophication in our water bodies. By genetically engineering Azotobacter vinelandii, the modified bacterium that grows aerobically can provide an anaerobic intracellular environment to treat nitrogen wastes, in other words can make the organism to run anaerobic nitrogen-removing (denitrification) steps in the presence of oxygen in normal condition. Therefore, the design could establish a new one-step international standard for sewage treatment, increase the lifespan of existing sewage treatment plant, and reduce valuable land used or footprint for sewage treatment works.


About CUHK School of Life Sciences

Established in August 2010 under the Faculty of Science, the school offers six undergraduate programmes, namely biochemistry, biology, cell and molecular biology, environmental science, food and nutritional sciences, and molecular biotechnology. The school strives to enhance the competitiveness in teaching and research in life sciences in Hong Kong and the region. Some of its active research areas include plant molecular biology and biotechnology, protein structure and function, marine biology, environmental science, and food science and technology.


About "Challenge Cup"

"Challenge Cup" is a science competition nationwide and being described as “"Olympics" of science and technology for Chinese college students. This competition allows Chinese students to show their creativity in science and technology and awards are given to high quality project. This year, the "Challenge Cup" organizer decided to make a contest in Hong Kong before the nationwide competition and invited finalist participants to compete in Hong Kong held at the Cyberport. There were more than 30 teams with close to 100 people selected in this finalist competition among all the universities in Hong Kong. Among them, only five teams achieved first price award in the competition, and only CUHK team achieved the champion award. For more information, please visit http://www.hkchallengecup.com/ and http://www.tiaozhanbei.net/







今次中大隊獲獎的題目為”污水處理一步通”。現時水處理廠一般使用微生物來去除(NH4+), 但卻需經過有及無兩個,故此現行方法較為低效。透過基因工程改造棕色固一種能在其細胞含有微量氣來處理氮廢物,而又可以在有環境下存活的細菌,我們希望能使其在有的環境下進行硝作用,避免氮素引發水體產生藻華和富營養化作用。若以此建立新的水處理”標準, 將可加強水處理效率, 並大大減少水處理所需要的土地。






“挑戰盃” 簡介

“挑戰杯”是一個全國中國大學生的科學競賽,被描述為科技“奧運”比賽。本比賽鼓勵中國學生展示科學和創新技術,獎項只頒給高品質的項目。今年, “挑戰杯”的組織者決定在全國賽前加入香港區選拔賽,並邀請決賽得主參加在數碼港舉行香港選拔賽。在所有香港的大學之間有超過30支決賽隊伍,接近100人入圍選拔。其中,只有五支隊伍在選拔中取得了一等獎,只有香港中文大學隊獲得冠軍殊榮。網址:http://www.hkchallengecup.com/ http://www.tiaozhanbei.net/



Fig 1. Inoculation and culture of Azotobacter養殖棕色固氮菌中


Fig 2. Study with sewage sample under disinfection condition with alcohol lamp 在用酒精燈消毒條件下使用污水樣本進行實驗



Fig 3. Award ceremony of Challenge Cup 2015 挑戰盃頒獎典禮2015