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Dinoflagellate phytotoxins exploitation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Dinophyte (Dinoflagellate phytotoxins exploitation)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2019-10-31

Dinoflagellates are microalgae which produce a wide range of toxins. These toxins are mostly unknown (only 1% have been identified) but they have proven to be efficient in different market applications: drug discovery, food safety testing, biopesticides.
Culture of dinoflagellates (and thus production of toxins) is not mastered by current technologies due to their extreme sensitivity to shearing forces. For this reason laboratories have to culture them in static conditions resulting in very low production yield. The current price of toxins isolated from dinoflagellates is very high (3 – 30 k€/ mg), reflecting the difficulties to culture them. Consequently, these toxins are poorly exploited despite their renowned potential. PLANKTOVIE has developed a disruptive patented technology (Soft Mixer) which enables efficient dinoflagellate culture at high yield level, drastically decreasing the costs of production. During the course of this project the Soft Mixer technology has been combined with a carbonation membrane to increase the intake of CO2 in the culture, resulting in the development of a 200L-DINOPHYT photobioreactor. The objectives of the project has been to demonstrate the production of dinoflagellates at high yield and preindustrial scale up levels. We have designed a 200L-DINOPHYT photobioreactor combining a finely tuned carbonation system and a rotating vessel. This photobioreactor has been used to culture dinoflagellates spp selected for their capacities to produce toxins. Culture conditions have then be established in order to maximize the dinoflagellate growth yield as well as their capacity to produce toxins. In a first stage, parameters such as rotation speed, light intensity and CO2 have been investigated to optimize the system. Later on, other parameters, such as nutrients and toxin-specific inducers will be also studied to increase the level of toxin production.
We have been able to built the 200L-DINOPHYT photobioreactor equipped with a Soft Mixer vessel and a carbonation membrane. The shearing forces in such reactor are compatible with the dinoflagellates tolerance treshold, allowing us to culture them at high yield level characterized by a duplication time dt= 0,95 (day) and a biomass capacity production of 2400 mg/L/D. Interestingly, this biomass contained a high percentage of toxin production (1 g/year/200L). Our Cost on Good (COG) analysis revealed a saxitoxin (SXT) cost of production around 15000 €/g which is in perfect line with its commercialization. Indeed, one potential first distributor contact (Novakits) offered us 1000 €/mg. In conclusion, our DINOPHYT has proven to be adapted for the production of delicate cells such as microalgae that are of interest for various biotechnological domains including non exhaustively, drug development, food safety, and biopesticides.
This project has confirmed its breakthrough potential in the cell culture field. The technical results and the business contacts set during its development have confirmed that DINOPHYT technology can raise current technological bolts in critical fields such marine toxins utilization and stem cell culture. These high value market segments are promising.
the DINOPHYT photobioreactor (200L)