Key elements: Development of in-house industrial processes + international knowledge exchange + international research network
In 2018 researchers in Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering joined forces with German animal feeds producer Kaesler Nutrition to kick-start the company’s in-house production of carotenoids.
We are excited to work with Imperial’s researchers to translate their unique expertise in microorganism engineering into industrially relevant processes."
Dr Heiko Dietz
Head of R&D, Kaesler Nutrition
Carotenoids are naturally-occurring, fat-soluble additives that Kaesler and other feed producers add to their products to improve appearance and nutritional quality. Previously Kaesler bought in and refined these essential additives from other natural sources but began to explore ways to produce them completely in-house. However, carotenoids can be difficult to synthesise, with the traditional process producing relatively low yields with high production costs.
In research circles, a microbial-centred approach has shown early success in improving yields. Led by synthetic bioengineer Dr Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro, a team of Imperial bioengineers are pioneering a yeast-based approach to apply to Kaesler’s synthesis process, which will expand the company’s current production capabilities.
The 2-year project was part of a wider programme of academic engagement for Kaesler, who also sponsored complementary research projects with two German universities.
Collaborating with relevant industry partners, such as Kaesler, is a very rewarding experience. It allows us to close the gap between cutting edge academic achievements and an impact in the real world."
Dr Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro
Project PI, Imperial
“This collaboration is a great opportunity for us to increase the speed of execution of this project. We will do this by leveraging complementary expertise between the different working groups. We are excited to work with Imperial’s researchers to translate their unique expertise in microorganism engineering into industrially relevant processes,” said Dr. Heiko Dietz, Head of R&D at Kaesler Nutrition.
Research staff are based between England and Germany to ensure the teams can work unhindered. An exchange of students and materials will further support knowledge transfer in the partnership.
“Collaborating with relevant industry partners, such as Kaesler, is a very rewarding experience,” Dr Ledesma-Amaro commented. “It allows us to close the gap between cutting edge academic achievements and an impact in the real world. We are thus very excited to begin this collaboration with Kaesler Nutrition, which could lead to innovative biotechnological and bioengineering processes.”
Read the full news article here