iGem 2015, a gold medal for the Bordeaux teamPart of the Bordeaux Igem 2015 team - © Gautier Dufau
Their names are Hiba, Édouard, Savandara, Charlotte and Jean-Rémy… Their average age is 22. On Thursday evenings, they could have chosen to do sporting activities, take part in plays, or just go out on the town like most young people. Instead, these biology students spend several hours cooped up in the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology (IECB) with a mission for 2015: finding a cure for mildew on grapevines. The solution of these self-called Padawans of science is to create a curdlan-based spray to be used on the plants. "This natural polysaccharide, used as a food additive, has numerous beneficial effects on the grapevine, including the stimulation of its immune system to combat the disease". These young researchers won the gold medal in the international competition in synthetic biology – iGem 2015 – which took place in Boston in September 2015.