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Advanced use of mosses for biotechnological solutions

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MossTech (Advanced use of mosses for biotechnological solutions)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-09-30

MossTech will expand the tools for green biotechnology. By using the simplest land plants, the mosses, MossTech will develop new green cell factories for the production of proteins, lipids and fine chemicals.
MossTech are training six highly qualified ESRs in modern biotechnology with the focus on expanding the use of green cells for biotechnological applications. The consortium of three universities, one research institution and three companies together provides a strong background for training in scientific and transferable skills.

The species and chemical diversity in Northern European mosses is very high; this allows MossTech to look for novel sources for valuable lipids, terpenoids and other chemicals. This will lead to new products to be developed by the commercial partners, thus strengthening the European Biotech field. The vision of MossTech is to expand the available biotechnological tools for the European biotech industry. Europe is world leader in industrial biotechnological use of mosses.
The main training objective of MossTech is to educate 6 competent and independent young scientists. They will be able to develop ideas and deploy the latest technologies, in order to understand and increase the production of high value products in moss using bioreactors in an industrial setting. The trained ESRs will acquire competences for a future career within industrial biotechnology. Through this MossTech will add novel skilled workforce to the European society and biotech industry that currently employs about 22 million people. The ESRs will also be fully qualified for jobs in academia and related areas throughout Europe.
All six ESR projects are progressing and the plans is continuously being updated. There are as expected, always small changes to each project. The aim in the individual projects is clearly pushing the training and research forward.

The first papers with the PhD students as first/co-authors have been submitted and accepted. Likewise, the first line of patents are being considered including several partners. This show that apart from being a good training program MossTech will also provide the industrial partners with crucial new knowledge and technology, which later can be used to expand their business. This is a secondary aim, which will influence the general biotechnology economy in Europe.

Specifically, several of the projects have shown that there is huge metabolite diversity within mosses. Using the powerful analytical equipment’s of the partners has enabled us to identify new drug and ingredient targets that later can be developed as new products. This is coupled with a better understanding of the genetic regulation and optimized growth conditions for the mosses. All of which will enable a sustainable production of new products that will be economically feasible.

Collectively this a huge achievement for the individual ESRs that focus on obtaining their PhD degree. MossTech aim that the ESRs will submit at least one joint paper on their efforts in mosses, and that several partners are part of patents and scientific publications.
The project has so far established more mosses as laboratory cultures than expected, and they will be useful for future projects. Likewise, the foreseen filing of patent applications clearly shows that the project is going beyond current knowledge and is establishing new possibilities for the involved parties.

As mentioned, the socio-economic impact is hard to predict, but by securing the new knowledge, the industrial partners will be able to explore this for new products and better production of existing products. All of which will lead to stronger economy for the companies and possibly new jobs.
moss on plate