Category Archives: NEWS

CBMNet and IBCarb awarded BBSRC International Workshop Award

CBMNet and IBCarb awarded BBSRC International Workshop Award

BBSRC has identified industrial biotechnology and bioenergy as high-level priority areas in its Delivery Plan for 2016-2020. Supporting the BBSRC to achieve its strategic goals, this focussed workshop will identify the science and technological barriers that need to be addressed in order to harness the potential of plant ‘cell factories’ for producing biopharmaceuticals. A CBMNet-driven symposium (Manchester, September 2017) brought together key players from Canada, the EU and the UK, to discuss scientific and commercial opportunities and challenges in this space. The goal now is to regroup, with a more focussed set of individuals, to refine the landscape and to identify opportunities for collaborative R&D projects involving academia and industry in the UK and Canada. These aims are synergistic with those of CBMNet and IBCarb in the UK, and with the Canadian Glycomics Network, GlycoNet.

Organisms produce glycosylated proteins for multiple purposes (e.g. stabilizing protein structure; interacting with receptors; self-recognition; etc.). There is a significant body of work on mammalian and yeast cells – both to understand the mechanisms of glycosylation and to manipulate it to synthesize desired glycoforms (including biopharmaceutical applications). Although plants are increasingly being used as a platform for commercial manufacturing of proteins, our knowledge of the glycosylation systems of plants is incomplete. For example, the secretory pathway (the location where glycosylation takes place) and consequences of manipulation thereof are poorly investigated. However, the understanding of basic mechanisms is of utmost importance, because it has a significant impact on the expression level (yield) and quality of a glycoprotein product.

An introductory workshop driven by CBMNet was attended by 22 participants from the UK, Canada and the EU. Expertise spanned cell membrane biology, cell membrane transporters, yeast and bacterial glycosylation, glycobiology, protein secretion, structure/function of a set of nucleotide sugar transporters, glycomics, plant biotechnology, and in vitro remodelling of glycans on therapeutic proteins, enabled a focus on sharing knowledge and gaining a deeper understanding of the native plant glycosylation machinery and the manipulation thereof for the production of proteins with optimized functions. The workshop identified the differences and common features in different species (i.e. mammalian, yeast, bacterial), as a basis to better understand and control protein glycosylation in plants. Identifying potential bottlenecks in the transport of a proteins through the secretory pathway was also considered.

The goal now, through a slimmed-down working group, is to define potential ways forward that will overcome yield- and quality-restricting bottlenecks in plant glycoprotein production processes. This will require the development fundamental understanding, coupled with the generation and deployment of tools to manipulate pathways and processes.

Translation Stress Positively Regulates MscL-Dependent Excretion of Cytoplasmic Proteins

Translation Stress Positively Regulates MscL-Dependent Excretion of Cytoplasmic Proteins


The apparent mislocalization or excretion of cytoplasmic proteins is a commonly observed phenomenon in both bacteria and eukaryotes. However, reports on the mechanistic basis and the cellular function of this so-called “nonclassical protein secretion” are limited. Here we report that protein overexpression in recombinant cells and antibiotic-induced translation stress in wild-type Escherichia coli cells both lead to excretion of cytoplasmic protein (ECP). Condition-specific metabolomic and proteomic analyses, combined with genetic knockouts, indicate a role for both the large mechanosensitive channel (MscL) and the alternative ribosome rescue factor A (ArfA) in ECP. Collectively, the findings indicate that MscL-dependent protein excretion is positively regulated in response to both osmotic stress and arfA-mediated translational stress.


Protein translocation is an essential feature of cellular organisms. Bacteria, like all single-cell organisms, interact with their environment by translocation of proteins across their cell membranes via dedicated secretion pathways. Proteins destined for secretion are directed toward the secretion pathways by the presence of specific signal peptides. This study demonstrates that under conditions of both osmotic stress and translation stress, E. coli cells undergo an excretion phenomenon whereby signal peptide-less proteins are translocated across both the inner and outer cell membranes into the extracellular environment. Confirming the presence of alternative translocation/excretion pathways and understanding their function and regulation are thus important for fundamental microbiology and biotechnology.

Read the full paper here.

€2.4M European ERA CoBioTech Project Success for CBMNet

€2.4M European ERA CoBioTech Project Success for CBMNet


We are proud to announce that a CBMNet led proposal to the First transnational Call for research projects within the framework of the ERA-NET Cofund on Biotechnologies (ERA CoBioTech) “Biotechnology for a Sustainable Bioeconomy”, has been successful.

Developed through CBMNet and led by CBMNet Management Board member Dr Alan Goddard, with CBMNet Co-Director Professor Gavin Thomas, as Co-investigator, ‘MEmbrane Modulation for BiopRocess enhANcEment’ (MEMBRANE), will deliver bespoke robust industrially-viable cell factory strains, engineered to overcome current bioprocess and production bottlenecks, accelerating the commercialisation of two significant industrial bioprocesses. Implementation of this project will significantly reduce production costs and environmental impact for two companies, increasing product sustainability.

“We are delighted with this EU funding, both as further recognition of CBMNet-led proposals bearing fruit, but also that the EU can recognise that there is much under-explored biology around the microbial cell membranes that could be exploited in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy” – Professor Gavin Thomas, CBMNet Co-Director, University of York

This 36-month project sees five leading research institutes (Aston University, University of York, Forschungszentrum Jülich, IATA-CSIC and Groningen) and two large industry partners (Lallemand and Pakmaya), across five countries, collaborate, and validate at pilot scale, engineered robust cell factories (yeast and Propionibacterium) that overcome existing toxicity challenges, improve efficiency and allow their effective commercialisation. The strategies developed within this project will be applicable across the sector to facilitate rational strain engineering with far-reaching benefits.

Our multinational multidisciplinary team are all CBMNet members and combines skills in lipidomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, biophysics, MD simulations, strain engineering, high throughput screening and commercial process and product development. The collaborative, integrated and iterative approach maximises impact; it would be impossible for any one partner to conduct this project alone and success is contingent upon the expertise of all partners.

“CBMNet was my first exposure to Industrial Biotechnology and I feel that I have had tremendous support from the network since its inception, both in terms of people I have met, networking events and conferences, and funding opportunities available.  The underpinning ideas for our successful ERA CoBioTech proposal emerged from a number of CBMNet-funded projects and fruitful conversations with both academics and industrial partners.  The consortium was built through CBMNet, utilising existing connections and also by leveraging the EU-wide reach of CBMNet to recruit relevant academic and industrial partners to work on a project of mutual interest.  CBMNet has been incredibly supportive throughout the process” –  Dr Alan Goddard, Aston University

The global economy has an unsustainable dependence on fossil raw material with demand for raw material inputs to industry growing steadily. Concerns about environmental sustainability are becoming more acute; thus, alternatives to traditional, fossil-fuel based chemical production are urgently required. Cell factories, which use microorganisms to produce materials from renewable biomass, are an attractive alternative, and an increasing number of platform chemicals are being produced at industrial scale using engineered microorganisms. These are expected to have a transformative impact in industrial biotechnology, but, first, we must meet the challenges of designing and optimizing high-yield cell factory strains that can produce commercially viable amounts of product. One reason for poor product output is that the production conditions are ultimately toxic to the producing cells. In addition to damage to intracellular components such as enzymes, the lipid cell membrane and associated proteins are vulnerable to biomolecules e.g. ethanol and propionate, as well as to physical parameters during production such as osmotic stress, pH, and temperature. An approach whereby membranes can be “tuned”, in terms of their lipid and protein content, to become more resistant to stresses brought about by toxicity would revolutionise the field. Additionally, expression of efficient membrane transporters to export ‘toxic’ products can mitigate intracellular damage. These approaches will ultimately enable production of higher concentrations of the desired molecules or cells making the bioprocesses more efficient, increasing product yield, reducing cost, and help to drive the move away from fossil-based raw materials. An adoption of such “green” processes and avoidance of depletion of non-renewable carbon sources will bring huge social and environmental benefits. Products and processes which  are currently economically unviable due to toxicity can be rendered profitable by even small increases in the resistance of strains and concomitant yield increases.

The project is divided into seven interconnected, iterative work packages (WPs) with a well-established build-test-analyse approach. Initial analysis of –omics data will identify key alterations in membrane protein and lipid content of both microbes subjected to stresses associated with bioproduction and those strains known to be somewhat resistant to such stresses (WP1). In vitro and in silico approaches will be used to rapidly delineate the roles of these alterations and rationally design more resistant membranes (WP2). Using synthetic biology and strain evolution approaches, we will alter the membrane composition of microbes to reflect the “optimal” membranes determined in WP2 (WP3). Optimal strains will be identified in a high throughput manner and subjected to large-scale testing to ensure that the changes made translate to the industrial setting (WP4). Following this, another iteration of the cycle will further optimise the strains. WP5 will evaluate the environmental and social sustainability of the innovative production processes and the final products. WP6 will develop and implement a strategy for the dissemination and exploitation of research results to different stakeholders. WP7 involves consortium management, project governance, communication activities and administrative oversight to ensure maximum impact of the project.

Project Partners:

Dr Alan Goddard, Aston University

Dr Gavin Thomas, University of York

Dr Amparo Querol, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) – Institute of  Agrochemistry and Food Technology

Dr Stephan Noack, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Prof Siewert-Jan Marrink. The University of Groningen

Dr Mustafa Turker, Pakmaya

Dr Jose Heras, Lallemand

CBMNet IN-FOCUS 2016-2017: Our Network’s Impact

CBMNet IN-FOCUS 2016-2017: Our Network’s Impact

**Download IN-FOCUS here.**

A welcome from Professor Jeff Green, CBMNet Director……

Welcome to the latest issue of IN-FOCUS. Since its launch in 2014 CBMNet has worked to build an international community of academics and industrial biotechnology practitioners to raise awareness of the importance of membrane function, and in particular the transport of substrates and products, in creating efficient bioprocesses. Our many events have brought together over 400 academics and industrialists to share knowledge and discuss a range of challenges where a better understanding of membrane function could provide innovative solutions. These meetings have cemented new relationships between academia and industry and the resulting collaborations, supported by our Proof-of-Concept and Business Interaction Voucher schemes, are now developing as longer-term partnerships and applications for further funding. At this point it is appropriate to thank our Network Manager Dr Jen Vanderhoven for her exceptional work in organising events, supporting developing collaborations and administering CBMNet finances.

“CBMNet has led the way in open, inclusive and interesting meetings that both inform of novel science and bring people together in useful teams. Their funding applications have been rigorously reviewed and their success in grant capture and stimulating new collaborations is excellent. Also their ability to encourage formation of new teams without even a hint of self-fulfilment in the leadership team – who seem to revel in the success of others as much as themselves – is exceptional. I think their outreach via websites, art installation and newsletters, including brokering partnerships via the network, is a great example of best-practice.” CBMNet Member, 2017

Working with the management board has been one of the many privileges of being a part of the CBMNet team. The high levels of knowledge, expertise and creativity embodied in the management board have contributed greatly to the success of CBMNet activities and ensured that our events attract leaders in the relevant fields. One of many highlights was the CBMNet Scientific Session entitled Membrane Transporters held during the 2016 Microbiology Society Annual Conference. This attracted world-leading experts in the full range of biological transport systems to share their knowledge and experience with industrial representatives and early career researchers (ECR). It has been a particular pleasure to have helped deliver several activities focused on ECRs. The CBMNet Vacation Scholarship Scheme has introduced undergraduate bioscientists to the world of IB and our bespoke nationwide IB careers event was full of energy and enthusiasm, as was our ECR Research symposium and our CBMNet Shortcourse in IBBE held at CPI and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechologies on Teeside. The generosity of our industry partners in sharing their IB insights and opening their work places to offer fascinating insights into operating commercial IB plant was greatly appreciated by all attendees. In its present incarnation CBMNet has another 18 months to run so I would encourage you to keep an eye on our website for up-coming events and register early to avoid disappointment. As well as our event schedule we are actively helping members form consortia and co-ordinating grant applications.

“My experience with CBMNet has been one of the finest and most fruitful examples of   academic-industry exchange, networking and developing collaborative projects that I have experienced. This is all the more remarkable, because I have experienced  plenty of such events in other academic‑industry partnership involvement.” CBMNet Member, 2017

Let’s draw blue skies research out of our universities and into the economy

Let’s draw blue skies research out of our universities and into the economy

A great idea often starts with a lightbulb moment, a flash of inspiration that feels like it could be something big – but for many ideas that’s as far as it gets. For successful innovators, getting to the point where things really take off is a long and often winding road of hope, promise, disappointment and renewal.

Entrepreneurs who grow a good idea into a business are critical to our economic success, but entrepreneurs are not only born and raised in the business community. There are about 1,000 businesses in the UK that are run by university academics who have taken the plunge and are commercialising the research that they have invested years of their lives in.

These include companies such as 2D tech, which was spun out of Manchester University to find commercial applications for graphene, Run3D, an Oxford University spinout that uses biomechanical engineering to help sportspeople improve their performance, or Magnomatics from Sheffield University, which has developed a gearbox that doesn’t actually have any gears in it.

If we are to maintain our position as a world leader in innovation, the UK needs these research-led businesses to scale up, not sell up. As universities minister Jo Johnson recognised recently in a speech to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, our universities need to “find a new gear” and accelerate the adoption of the best practice on research commercialisation that already exists in some of our universities so that it becomes mainstream.

This view is backed up by statistics. Although patent applications in the UK have increased by around 150% over the last decade, most of that growth was in the first five years. While the number of businesses that are being spun out of our universities has been growing, the figures for those that are still operating after three years has been stagnant since 2009-10 and, on average, they have just four employees.

Poor commercialisation of UK research is a problem that Johnson has committed to solve through his new knowledge exchange framework. It will benchmark performance in university-business collaboration, with the aim of driving up standards and recognising that the strengths of different types of institution are not based solely on their work in research.

This should be welcomed, particularly by growing businesses that are faced with a wide choice of universities and which can struggle to identify the best partner. However, we need to make sure the framework takes a long-term view of investment and uses a measure of knowledge exchange that genuinely drives businesses to scale up and creates economic growth.

At the moment some university technology transfer offices are using funding models and measures of success that are just too short-term. We should not use a single measure, like the exploitation of intellectual property, simply because it is easier to quantify. Innovate UK will work with the government and Research England to make sure that the new framework looks to the long term, with a variety of measures that genuinely link through to growth and create the right incentives.

In particular, the framework must acknowledge that research that can transform our industries comes in many different forms, not just patents and IP. For instance, a great deal of work is already being done to develop artificial intelligence systems and algorithms that will analyse big datasets, but since you cannot patent an algorithm in the UK, using that as your indicator would be a flawed measure.

The framework will also need to drive knowledge from our universities into established businesses of all sizes to develop new products and services because this is just as important as support for new companies that are starting out.

That is where schemes like knowledge transfer partnerships can help. Run by Innovate UK, the research councils and devolved administrations, these transfer a graduate or more senior researcher into a business for between 12 and 36 months to deliver an innovation project identified by the business. This is a three-way partnership between the business, the university and the academic in which all benefit.

This week we received an additional £30 million from the national productivity investment fund to substantially expand the programme. When the framework is introduced, universities will be able to use schemes like these partnerships to demonstrate how they are commercialising research.

Knowledge transfer from our universities and the commercialisation of university research matters. So long as we get the measures and incentives right, the framework can bring benefits not just to the international reputation of our businesses and universities, but also to the wider economy.

Read the full article at

‘Evaluation of UK Involvement with the Research Framework Programme and other European Research and Innovation Programmes’.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a report entitled Evaluation of UK Involvement with the Research Framework Programme and other European Research and Innovation Programmes’. The final report, which was originally commissioned by BEIS in 2015, mainly looks at the UK’s involvement in FP7, but also includes some very early conclusions for participation in Horizon 2020 (using data until February 2016). Furthermore, it includes the results of a survey, case studies on FP7 administration and feedback, which UKRO, together with and a number of subscribers, provided in late 2015.

The report concludes that the UK had a dominant presence in FP7, which was reflected in the country’s success rates, participation in proposals and the requested funding rates. It states that ‘The UK performed above expectation relative to its GDP, GERD, GOVERD and its number of FTE researchers – when comparing the proportion of FP7 funding received to the proportion of EU GDP, GERD, GOVERD and FTE researchers.’

In FP7, UK participants took a coordinating role on projects more often than any other country, with UK organisations coordinating 49% of projects with UK participants, compared to 35% for Germany and 37% for France. The report also acknowledges the outstanding success of the UK in the People (now MSCA) and Ideas (ERC in FP7) programmes, with slightly lower participation in the Cooperation programme. UK participation overall was strong for higher education institutions compared to other countries, but lower for industry.

Based on the survey, the report also concludes that FP7 represented a significant funding source for the UK research community and acknowledges that the vast majority of the activities funded would not have been possible without FP7.

The report also mentions the UK’s EU referendum and states the following: ‘The research was commissioned before the UK referendum on 23 June 2016. In this referendum, the UK voted to leave the European Union. The Government has made clear it would welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives. As set out in the future partnership paper,Collaboration on Science and Innovation, published on 6 September 2017, the UK will seek an ambitious Science and Innovation Agreement with the EU.’

Biorefining Potential for Scotland, A new report from Zero Waste Scotland

Biorefining Potential for Scotland, A new report from Zero Waste Scotland

In 2015, Scottish Enterprise published ‘The Biorefinery Roadmap for Scotland’, on behalf of the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Development Group (SIBDG), which sets out the key actions required to identify the barriers and risks faced by companies and potential investors to enable the more established biorefinery technologies. The Roadmap aims to increase industrial biotechnology turnover to £900 million by 2025.

A key action of this Roadmap was to map the wastes, by-products and agricultural residues that are, or which could be, available as feedstock for a biorefining process. In addition, The Making Things Last strategyii outlines the Scottish Government’s priorities for recovering value from biological waste, including mapping bioresource arisings in Scotland and investigating the potential for local biorefining hubs.

The challenge for this project was therefore to establish the scale of the opportunity for the bioeconomy sector in Scotland, by quantifying and mapping bioresourceiii arisings to understand the scale and shape of a potential bioeconomy market. This report also builds on the outcomes of an earlier Beer Whisky Fish circular economy sector studyiiii which highlighted the need to better understand the volume and geographic arisings of by-products in Scotland. For the first time Scotland’s bioresources have been assessed in such a thorough way and the volume of resources confirms that there is sufficient feedstock to enable Scotland to be confident in developing opportunities for biorefining.

Within the bioeconomy there is demonstrable scope to develop a bio-based industrial sector with the potential to significantly reduce our dependency on fossil-based resources, help meet climate change targets, and lead to sustainable economic growth. In addition, it will also help diversify and grow farmers’ incomes through additional margins by valorising agricultural residues. The Making Things Last strategy brings together many of the policy areas linked to the bioeconomy, however this transition will require a greater cross-sector approach, bringing industry and academia together. Scotland already has a great deal of biorefining expertise including research into brewing and fermentation, the future potential for forestry and marine biomass and synthetic biology.

Building on this foundation this study has shown that biorefineries have significant potential in Scotland with over 27 million tonnes of materials suitable for biorefining every year. Importantly this study has, for the first time, quantified a number of previously unaccounted for or ‘hidden’ resource streams including agricultural residues and byproducts both of which have significant biorefining and economic potential. The data shows a number of rural and coastal areas where bioresources arise in high volumes. This creates the opportunity for decentralised production facilities which can provide new income and employment opportunities in rural areas. Due to the fact that the raw materials arise over large areas, bio-based production favours a decentralised structure.

This report confirms that significant bioresources exist to develop technologies for biorefining to convert sustainable feedstocks into high value chemicals, biofuels and other renewable products for a range of industries. In addition, biorefining could offer significant economic benefits for the agricultural and rural industries in Scotland as well as across the food and drink supply chain. Scotland is well placed to develop biorefinery facilities given the co-ordinated approach and sufficient support from policymakers and funding bodies. Scotland has the enviable position in having world-leading centres of research excellence, a large volume of bioresources and an industrial base suited to the exploitation of the bioeconomy. The development of an industrial biorefining strategy, in alignment with the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology, is required to encourage collaboration and focus the academic and industrial expertise. Development of a biorefining strategy will lead to a focus on the knowledge and skill gaps and reinforce the existing expertise base in Scotland.

Read the full report here.

Identification and utilization of two important transporters: SgvT1 and SgvT2, for griseoviridin and viridogrisein biosynthesis in Streptomyces griseoviridis

Identification and utilization of two important transporters: SgvT1 and SgvT2, for griseoviridin and viridogrisein biosynthesis in Streptomyces griseoviridis

Griseoviridin (GV) and viridogrisein (VG, also referred as etamycin), both biosynthesized by a distinct 105 kb biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) in Streptomyces griseoviridis NRRL 2427, are a pair of synergistic streptogramin antibiotics and very important in treating infections of many multi-drug resistant microorganisms. Three transporter genes, sgvT1–T3 have been discovered within the 105 kb GV/VG BGC, but the function of these efflux transporters have not been identified.

In the present study, we have identified the different roles of these three transporters, SgvT1, SgvT2 and SgvT3. SgvT1 is a major facilitator superfamily (MFS) transporter whereas SgvT2 appears to serve as the sole ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter within the GV/VG BGC. Both proteins are necessary for efficient GV/VG biosynthesis although SgvT1 plays an especially critical role by averting undesired intracellular GV/VG accumulation during biosynthesis. SgvT3 is an alternative MFS-based transporter that appears to serve as a compensatory transporter in GV/VG biosynthesis. We also have identified the γ-butyrolactone (GBL) signaling pathway as a central regulator of sgvT1–T3 expression. Above all, overexpression of sgvT1 and sgvT2 enhances transmembrane transport leading to steady production of GV/VG in titers ≈ 3-fold greater than seen for the wild-type producer and without any notable disturbances to GV/VG biosynthetic gene expression or antibiotic control.

Our results shows that SgvT1–T2 are essential and useful in GV/VG biosynthesis and our effort highlight a new and effective strategy by which to better exploit streptogramin-based natural products of which GV and VG are prime examples with clinical potential.

Read the full article here.

IBioIC announces 100th Member

Innovative British biotechnology to add millions to economy

Glasgow,19 October 2017 – The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre today welcomes its 100th member, in what marks a significant step towards the growth of the UK biotechnology market.

It is estimated that by 2025, the UK industrial biotechnology market will be worth up to £12 billion and with the current rate of innovation and growth; it is easy to see how. Industrial biotechnology is changing the world, transitioning products and processes from being petro chemical-based to bio-based.

Everything we use in our daily lives can be reimagined using IB processes so that we are more sustainable, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and waste generation. Examples from IBioIC’s membership include:

•       Prawn shells being used to make environmentally friendly and antimicrobial cling film
•       Timber residues used to make natural food flavourings, including vanilla
•       Methane, a natural gas, converted into high quality protein animal feed
•       Waste bread and potato starch used in medicine manufacturing
•       Bi-products from whiskey manufacturing used to make fuel, feed and even nanoparticles for electronics
•       Genetically modified mosquitoes used to battle Zika virus, Dengue fever and Malaria

Some of the UK’s best-untapped resources for IB are carbon dioxide, agricultural wastes, municipal waste – heading to the landfill, seaweed and timber waste. It is because of these feedstocks and the high-level of academic expertise that the UK, and in particular Scotland, is attracting investment from around the world.

Industrial biotechnology may be a little known industry, but there is clear impact for companies of all sizes. IBioIC’s membership includes 14 startups and spinouts, 42 SMEs and 17 multi-national corporations, as well as government departments and other business consultancies. In keeping with the multi-disciplinary nature of IB, the members include IB expertise from a wide range of industries, from food to pharma to materials. IBioIC supports their members by helping their ideas develop from concept to commercial reality.

100th member – Oxford Biotrans: making natural scents and flavourings from IB

IBioIC recently welcomed Oxford Biotrans as their 100th member to join the likes of GSK, Scottish Water and Ingenza. Oxford Biotrans is a University of Oxford spin-out company supported by over 20 years of research by Dr Luet Lok Wong from the Department of Chemistry. Founded in 2013, the company is working to develop and commercialise enzymatic process technology to yield high-value chemicals from natural sources. Their procedures are environmentally friendly – producing less chemical waste and using less energy than traditional methods.
Their first product, natural-grade nootkatone, is a sesquiterpene, which is the flavour and scent of grapefruit and is used in food, beverage and cosmetic applications (including enhancing in non-citrus flavours). Natural-grade nootkatone is traditionally an expensive ingredient and large quantities of grapefruit are needed to extract commercial amounts of nootkatone – 400,000kg of grapefruit is needed to produce just 1kg of nootkatone. A synthetic nootkatone can be produced through chemical processes, but this requires high temperatures, heavy metals and peroxides, and cannot be classed as natural in the EU.
Oxford Biotrans has developed a process to convert natural valencene; a citrus extract readily obtained from oranges, into natural-grade nootkatone, and is now offering an attractive, secure and environmentally-friendly supply of this in-demand compound. The company has just raised £2.1 million from investment activities, which will enable them to accelerate market entry of further products in the pipeline, building on the performance and capabilities of their innovative platform technology.
Oxford Biotrans has used the support of IBioIC to develop collaborative networks, secure project partners and grant funding and access academic support, hosting an IBioIC PhD student in the organisation. They will also use IBioIC’s scale-up facilities in future to test new ideas and processes for commercialisation.

About IBioIC
IBioIC is a specialist in the Industrial Biotechnology (IB) sector, designed to stimulate the growth of the IB sector in Scotland to £900 million by 2025. The Centre is a connector between industry, academia and government, investing in and facilitating access to expertise, equipment and education in order to grow the industry into a powerhouse of Scotland’s economy.

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About Oxford Biotrans
Oxford Biotrans is a University of Oxford spin-out company working to develop and commercialise enzymatic process technology to yield high-value chemicals.
For more information visit:

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