Biohexamine - a path towards securing responsible producers and societies

01 March 2021 → 28 February 2023
Regional and community funding: IWT/VLAIO
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Synthetic biology
  • Engineering and technology
    • Industrial microbiology
chitooligosaccharides microbial production
Project description

In the VLAIO IM project, we address the opportunities for applying chitooligosaccharides (COS) in sectors such as food, feed or pharma. These unique agrobiologicals can both enhance sustainable crop protection but can also be used as an antibiotic substitute in animal feed increasing the overall performance of young animals. Industry is searching for scalable, sustainable and economically viable production technologies that can deliver structurally perfectly defined COS as it has become increasingly apparent that many of the biological activities ascribed to COS hinge on highly specific effector-receptor interactions (lock-and key theory: a specific COS-structure is the key and a natural plant or animal receptor is the lock). At this moment, we have developed a platform for the biotechnological production – using microbial cell factories (MCFs) – of pure and structurally defined COS, referred to as monoclonal COS (mCOS) which can now be produced in gram to kilogram amounts and in high purity, sufficient for their testing in real-life industrial scenarios. In a next phase, a convincing proof-of-concept, i.e., product, needs to be provided. Key members of the metabolic engineering team at the Centre for Synthetic Biologyand UGent’s Tech Transfer Office (TTO) aim to create a spin-off company, Biohexamine, engaged in delivering pure and structurally perfectly defined COS to the market. The successful execution of the proposed project should significantly contribute to debottlenecking the path towards the creation of a spin-off company focusing on (further) establishing i) proof-of-concept product, ii) an IP portfolio, iii)partnership deals, and iv) business plan and financial plan.