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CORDIS

AN INNOVATIVE MICROBIAL CELL FACTORY FOR NATURAL VANILLIN

Project description

Environmentally friendly production method for natural vanillin

Almost all vanillin used around the world by the food and fragrance industries is chemically synthesised, but demand is declining due to the excessive use of fossil resources and solvents in its production. Hence, there is a need for a large-scale production method of natural vanillin in greater quantities, in less time and at a lower cost. The EU-funded BELLOSSOM project will use genetically modified organisms for the cost-effective and scalable production of natural vanillin. The goal is to develop an innovative microbial cell factory strain using cutting-edge technologies from systems biology and in silico modelling. This will be achieved through a novel molecular dynamics modelling strategy based on 3D protein simulations and computational enzyme design tools.

Objective

Vanillin is the second most expensive spice globally (€11.000/kilo) and used compound in fragrances and food industry. Over 99% of all vanillin is chemically synthesised. However, market demand for chemically synthesized vanillin is declining due to the excessive use of fossil resources and solvents that severely impact the environment. However, the production of natural vanillin is limited (<1%) due to natural disasters, the limited capacity and high costs. This shows the strong societal, industrial and environmental need for an innovative, cheap and scalable production method for natural vanillin. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a suitable alternative to produce vanillin from natural substrates; the resulting product is classified as natural vanillin under European and US food legislation. However, conventional genetic engineering methods have strong technological limitations.

EV Biotech aims to revolutionize conventional biotechnology by developing an innovative microbial cell factory (MCF) strain using innovative technologies from systems biology and in silico modelling. To achieve this, EV Biotech envisions a novel molecular dynamics modelling strategy based on 3D protein simulations and computational enzyme design tools to redesign these enzymes. In fact, the development of this molecular dynamics model for proteins is critical for the overall proof-of-concept and success of BELLOSSOM. However, the team lacks a PhD-level scientist who has specialized knowledge of molecular dynamics modelling of proteins/enzymes. EV Biotech plans to exploit three business opportunities by recruiting an Innovation Associate: (1) a lack in the market for large-scale natural vanillin production methods, (2) the industrial demand for MCF with higher production rates of natural compounds, and reduced time and costs for their development, and (3) the addition of a molecular dynamics model for proteins in the production pipeline to enhance the current market position.

Call for proposal

H2020-INNOSUP-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-INNOSUP-2020-02

Coordinator

EV BIOTECH BV
Net EU contribution
€ 111 250,00
Address
ZERNIKELAAN 8
9747AA Groningen
Netherlands

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Noord-Nederland Groningen Overig Groningen
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Links
Total cost
No data