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Mobilising the enzymatic potential of hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria and the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica to create a powerful cellular production platform for lipidderived industrial materials

Reference no: FP7-KBBE-2007-1
Period: August 2008 till July 2011
Status: Completed

Institutes (7)  Top 
  • Universiteit Gent (UGent), more, co-ordinator
  • Technische Universität Carolo-Wilhelmina zu Braunschweig, partner
  • University of Nairobi, partner
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), more, partner
  • Ascenion GmbH, partner
  • Avecom, partner
  • University of Minnesota, partner

This proposal aims at developing a versatile fermentation platform for the conversion of lipid feed stocks into diverse added-value products. It is proposed to develop the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica into a microbial factory by directing its versatile lipid metabolism towards the production of industrially valuable compounds like wax esters (WE), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA’s), free hydroxyl fatty acids (HFA’s) and isoprenoid-derived compounds (carotenoids, polyenic carotenoid ester). Conversion of lipid intermediates into these products will be achieved by introducing heterologous
enzyme functions isolated from marine hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria into Yarrowia. To achieve these goals we have assembled a team with a broad set of complementary expertise in microbial physiology, metabolic engineering, yeast lipid metabolism, metagenomics, biochemical and protein engineering. Already available for this project are a number of genetically engineered Yarrowia strains as well as a collection of genes encoding enzymes for the production of WE’s, 3-HFA’s, PHA’s and carotenoids. The following complementary research focus areas are proposed: (1) Engineering of
metabolic precursor pools in Yarrowia lipolytica for the production of added-value products from lipids (INRA, UGe). (2) Conversion of metabolic precursor pools in Yarrowia to added-value products by overexpressing heterologous biosynthetic enzymes (UGe, INRA, UoM). (3) Discovery and characterization of novel aliphatic enzyme activities by metagenomic screening of marine hydrocarbonoclastic and other oiland fat-metabolizing microbial communities (TUBS, UoN). The project is further complemented by: (i) the activity of a professional valorization company (Ascenion) providing IP protection
and commercialization services; (ii) by proactive efforts to expand the project’s target products’ application potential (Avecom).

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