Microbial cell factory – proof-of-concept strain

Terpenes are a large and diverse class of hydrocarbon compounds that are found in many plant oils, also known as essential oils. They are characterised by a strong scent caused by their volatility. In nature terpenes are produced to lure insects for pollination, repel animals that would otherwise eat the plant, or protect the plant against pathogens. We like to use several of them as aromatic agents in cosmetics and food products. Other terpenes find their use as agricultural products, nutraceuticals and even pharmaceuticals.

Terpene production is a time-consuming and tricky process. Chemical synthetic production is very difficult if not impossible due to the molecules’ complexity. Most terpenes are purified from plants instead, which in turn need to be sown, cultivated, harvested and processed for purification. This botanical purification is subject to a whole range of uncertainties including the weather conditions, crop yield, soil quality, and diseases, all rendering botanical purification highly unpredictable and costly. Microbial production of terpenes can be a (cost-)effective substitute for this process.

EV’s terpenes: At EV we are developing a platform microorganism for the production of a building block of all terpenes. This microorganism can easily be tuned via a “plug-and-play” method to produce a plethora of terpenes. We have proof-of-concepts for limonene and pinene and welcome requests for a feasibility study of any terpene of your interest

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