5-HTP, a natural product with multiple functions, has been used as antidepressant, sleep aid and appetite suppressant over the world. Additionally, 5-HTP has been proved clinically effective for the prevention of milk fever, a commonly occuring disease among farm animals that may cause substantial economic loss. Currently, the only commercialized approach for 5-HTP production is through solvent extraction from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a woody climbing shrub grown in west and central Africa. However, the insufficient and unstable supply of the raw material resulted in high and volatile price of 5-HTP, which greatly limited the expansion of its market. The high price largely constrained its broad use as an inexpensive antidepressant drug and affordable dietary supplement. Particularly, it is infeasible in terms economic viability for use as an animal feed supplement to control milk fever. To address these issues, BiotecEra is developing a novel microbial approach that allows the efficient, cost-effective and scalable production of 5-HTP. This technology is expected to significantly lower the production cost compared with the current botanical extraction method. At the same time, this technology can be readily scaled to secure the production of 5-HTP and satisfy the market needs. Importantly, the microbial approach is eco-friendly with few Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory hurdles. Preliminary study has demonstrated the technical and economical feasibility for microbial production of 5-HTP. In this project, several problems directly related to its scale-up production will be addressed. First, antibiotic-free and inducer-free expression system will be developed, which will dramatically reduce the production cost and eliminate relatedt environmental concerns. Secondly, the metabolic network will be optimized to achieve further improvement in 5-HTP production.
PROJECT // 01
Microbial production of a multifunctional natural product 5-hydroxytryptophan
BiotecEra, Inc. developes powerful industrial microbes to realize the efficient, economic and eco-friendly production of value-added small molecules, including commodity chemicals, biofuels, pharmaceuticals and drug precursors. We employ the newest principles of microbiology, metabolic engineering and protein engineering, as well as the edge-cutting techniques, leading to talored genetic modification of target microorganisms. The engineered microorganisms are capable of utilizing renewable feedstock to achieve continuous and flexible production of target compound and meet the diverse needs of our customers.
"Metabolic engineering is the practice of optimizing genetic and regulatory processes within cells to increase the cells' production of a certain substance."
The advent of metabolic engineering has been revolutionizing the way to chemical production. The latest advances in this discipline have extended the scope of target products from native metabolites to non-native and even non-natural compounds. Incresing number of chemicals produced by metabolically engineering microorganisms significantly alleviate the reliance on petroleum-related traditional chemical industry. A new Era of Biotechnology is coming.
Renewable & Sustainable --- Utilization of renewable carbon sources, such as sugars and biomass
Envionmental Friendly --- No contamination caused by toxic raw materials, catalysts or side products
Productive & Economic --- Dramatical reduction in cost with efficient bioprocess and low-cost raw material