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Bioengineering production strains - Microbia develops new methods

The recently published issue of Nature Biotechnology outlines a new method developed by Microbia Ltd.'s scientists for rapidly identifying genes required for the production of industrial molecules produced in microbes. This is an advancement in the company's ability to improve the properties// of microbial cells for biomanufacturing pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. This new technology enables the illumination of the best route to optimize a cell's metabolic potential to increase productivity and yield of drugs and chemicals manufactured at industrial scale.

Microbia's Senior Director for Biomanufacturing Business Development, Richard Bailey, said that the scientists at Microbia had used a systems approach to engineer the microbial circuitry that regulates metabolite production. He added that the scientists had illustrated how they develop the roadmap for these regulatory networks and once they pinpointed the key genes to be modulated, such as those contributing to high productivity, they will be able to selectively alter them to boost yields and improve other production parameters.

The Nature Biotechnology authors constructed genomic fragment microarrays for Aspergillus terreus and then utilized these arrays for transcriptional profiling of strains engineered to produce varying levels of lovastatin-a drug used widely to treat high cholesterol. By integrating transcriptional and metabolite data, the authors elucidated the key genetic components and critical regulatory nodes affecting lovastatin production.

The technology described is a component of Microbia's Precision Engineering approach to biomanufacturing process improvement. Precision Engineering provides a rapid and comprehensive alternative to traditional metabolic engineering methods by targeting the physiological control networks in fungal and bacterial cells.


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