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Milestone achieved toward production of malaria treatment using synthetic biology and fermentation
Date:2/27/2009

EMERYVILLE, Calif., March 2, 2009 - Amyris Biotechnologies has announced the publication of an article which reveals the achievement of a significant milestone toward the production of amorphadiene, a precursor of the antimalarial agent artemisinin.

The article, "High-level production of amorpha-4,11-diene, a precursor of the antimalarial agent artemisinin, in Escherichia coli" appears in PLoS ONE, an open-access journal from the Public Library of Science, chronicles the steps taken which enabled Amyris scientists to achieve a crucial milestone in the fight against malaria the production of 25 g/L of amorphadiene through E. coli fermentations.

The production of amorphadiene in E. coli was first described in 2003 but the amount produced was low (50 mg/L). This level was increased to 0.5g/L in 2006, but still 50-fold lower than target production levels. This article describes the interplay of industrial fermentation processes and synthetic biology that achieved the required 50-fold increase in production levels. This milestone acts as proof of concept that commercially relevant concentrations of artemisinin precursors can be produced by microbes for conversion to artemisinin. Publication in PLoS One ensures the information is available free of charge to all nations.

The paper can be found at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0004489.

The World Health Organization recommends artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) as first-line treatment for malaria. However, supplies of plant-derived artemisinin are subject to the seasonality and volatility common to many plant-based commodities, leading to fluctuations in the price of artemisinin. Commercial scale production of semi-synthetic artemisinin would have the potential to stabilize supply and supplement existing plant-derived materials to create a consistent, high-quality and
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Contact: Annika Jensen-Lamka
jensen@amyris.com
510-740-7482
Amyris Biotechnologies
Source:Eurekalert

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