Strain Improvement of Industrially Significant Microorganisms
Microorganisms can generate a wide range of valuable products including proteins and primary/secondary metabolites. However, in most cases, the amount of proteins or metabolites produced by wild-type microorganism is too low for commercially viable applications. Improving wild-type strains through genetic manipulation provides a very attractive and practical approach for developing industrial microorganisms.
Strain improvement is the process of improving microbial strains in favor of enhancing their characteristics for industrial applications. In different fields, the objectives for improving a strain can be very diverse. At Fornia BioSolutions, our goal is to develop strains that are capable of producing higher titers of microbial products for the agricultural and environmental markets. Our core technology involves computational biology, mutagenesis, genetic engineering, intelligent screening, and large scale fermentation in collaboration with our partners. Products developed at Fornia BioSolutions are designed to be environmentally safe, competitive, and economically sustainable.
System-level engineering of microorganisms can be accomplished by the integration of in silico and wet lab experiments. Recent advances in high-throughput experimental and bioinformatics techniques have led to the rapid accumulation of a broad range of “-omics” data (i.e.: genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and so on). At Fornia BioSolutions, in silico modeling and computational simulations are being developed for quantitative analysis at the gene- to genome-levels. We apply in silico modeling tools and systems biology information to guide the engineering of microorganisms.
After a large amount of high-throughput experimental data is generated and fed into our proprietary laboratory information management system, computational simulations are carried out to decipher the complex data and information. Our computational modeling and experimental design are improved in a continuous process which will develop production strains that are competitive and optimal for industrial applications.
Mutagenesis and Genetic Engineering
Microorganisms can generate new genetic characteristics by mutagenesis and/or genetic engineering.
Mutagenesis is known to be a very powerful tool when it comes to altering both the genotype and phenotype of microorganisms. In mutagenesis, a strain is modified either by spontaneous mutations or by intentionally induced mutations. At Fornia BioSolutions, we are successfully applying appropriate mutagenesis strategies to improve various strains.
For large scale production, the targeted molecule needs to be produced at levels hundred- to thousand-times higher than those naturally produced. At Fornia BioSolutions, we are genetically engineering prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes to achieve three major goals: 1) produce in abundance the desired wild-type or engineered enzymes; 2) increase the overall protein titer; 3) remove competing or adverse genes
Automated and Intelligent Screening
At Fornia BioSolutions, we have automated the routine steps in our day to day workflow. Our results are hence more accurate, reliable and reproducible. Our automation platform enables us to create and evaluate strains in a high-throughput format. The best strains are validated in large scale fermenters.
Our in-depth knowledge on the large-scale fermentation processes of our partners, not only help us identify the targets for strain improvement but also enable us to design intelligent, high-throughput assays resembling process-relevant conditions.
Large Scale Fermentation
The scaling from lab demonstration to industrial fermentation is a well-known challenge. Fornia BioSolutions has in-house 15L fermentors and has access to outsourcing demonstration-scale and commercial-scale fermentation facilities. We improve our success rate by: (a) defining the process in the beginning of our strain improvement; (b) implementing the process condition during our strain development; (c) engaging a multi-stage scale-up and feedback strategy with our partners.