Synthetic Biology Breakthrough in Production of Natural Carotenoids

deinove carotenoids synbio greentech deinochem

The SynBio Biotech, Deinove (France), is hoping to break into the Carotenoid market for food, cosmetics and animal feed. Now, with their Deinococcus platform they have made several major advancements in their endeavours.

deinove_carotenoid_synbioDeinove also partnered with the Canadian company POS Bio-Sciences last year to try and kickstart the long-term project.

Carotenoids are part of the isoprenoid family, which is the main area of research in the Deinochem division of Deinove, supported by the Investments for the Future program. 

Deinococcus bacteria naturally produce these carotenoids, which have a high-added value (as precursors to vitamin A and as antioxidants). Today, the molecules are sold in a wide range of Industrial sectors and it is estimated that the market will reach €1.6Bn by 2019.

Uses of carotenoids include in medicine as potent antioxidants, perfumes, and detergents (Source: Deinove)

About 75% of existing production consists of petroleum derivatives; the rest is produced by plant extraction (such as in algae or Tomatoes) – ‘the fastest growing sector’, particularly benefiting from consumer demand (which want more ‘Natural’ products).

Through genetic engineering of Deinococcus bacteria, Deinove can achieve significantly high levels of production, giving it a real competitive advantage.

Deinove’s team worked on the characterisation of a 6,000-strain bank, which gave rise to a palette of various carotenoids, some of which were completely unique. This is the case of Deinoxanthin, a new carotenoid with potentially very important antioxidants properties.

We visited Deinove in Montpellier (South France) on our Labiotech Tour of France, the interview of which can be found here.

The advantages of Deinove’s proprietary Deinococcus strain for carotenoid production (Source: Deinove)

So What Exactly has Deinove Achieved?

Optimization of the strain by the high-throughput genetic engineering platform has increased product yields by 6 to 8 fold, essentially a successful example of scaling-up (a real challenge in Synthetic Biology production and the key thing that matters in this industry).

Deinove has also since identified the terminal enzymes involved in the production of different carotenoids, and this has allowed the production of three additional molecules of the same family. This could eventually even lead to an increase in the number of target markets.

So what really remains now is for Deinove to optimise final yield volumes and refine how the carotenoids are extracted for a market finish. Great news, for this Green-Clean-Biotech all-rounder.

Deinove’s Process from Gene Engineering to Production is nicely Explained in this video…

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