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Microbe rewiring technique promises a boom in biomanufacturing

Date: 20.11.2020 

Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have achieved unprecedented success in modifying a microbe to efficiently produce a compound of interest using a computational model and CRISPR-based gene editing.

Kredit: Berkeley Lab.Their approach could dramatically speed up the research and development phase for new biomanufacturing processes, and get cutting-edge bio-based products such as sustainable fuels and plastic alternatives on the shelves faster.

The process uses computer algorithms – based on real-world experimental data – to identify what genes in a "host" microbe could be switched off to redirect the organism's energy toward producing high quantities of a target compound, rather than its normal soup of metabolic products.

To test product/substrate pairing, the team performed experiments with a promising emerging host – a soil microbe called Pseudomonas putida – that had been engineered to carry the genes to make indigoidine, a blue pigment.

"We were thrilled to see that our strain produced extremely high yields of indigoidine after we targeted such a large number of genes simultaneously," said co-lead author Deepanwita Banerjee.





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