Elucidation and exploitation of the CYPome of the platform organism Starmerella bombicola

01 January 2018 → 20 June 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Carbohydrates
    • Regulation of metabolism
    • Microbiology not elsewhere classified
    • Genetics
    • Transcription and translation
  • Engineering and technology
    • Bioprocessing, bioproduction and bioproducts
    • Fermentation
    • Industrial microbiology
    • Industrial biotechnology not elsewhere classified
Project description

Today the yeast Starmerella bombicola is widely used for the production of several types of
biosurfactants. Nevertheless, some problems remain to further expand the market possibilities of
these compounds. One of them being the production of complex mixtures of molecules, which are
often seen as "contaminating" products . However, these compounds all have their own industrial
importance and their own market. A lot of these naturally produced compounds, like dicarboxylic
acids and hydroxy fatty acids, are often hard to produce with conventional chemical synthesis,
require toxic solvents or lead to intermediates that have negative effects on the environment.
These downfalls can be overcome by microbial production of these compounds in the platform
organism Starmerella bombicola. In order to ensure the production of a uniform product,
characterization of the CYPome present in S. bombicola has to happen. These enzymes play the
central role in the formation of the above mentioned products, but also the biosurfactant
(sophorolipids) production depends on the activity of these CYP enzymes. Till today only three of
these enzymes have been successfully characterized, but using sequence homology several other
CYP genes have been found. Characterization of these CYP genes will result in information needed
for the directed inactivation of some of these enzymes. By doing this, the final goal can be
achieved, namely the creation of production strains capable of producing one product.