Project: Novel industrial bioprocesses for production of key valuable steroid precursors from phytosterol

Project MySterI (Mycobacterial Steroids for Industry) aims to produce high value steroid precursors using a novel bioconversion strategy resulting in lower production costs and less cost to the environment. The aim is to convert phytosterols in cheap waste plant material to desired steroid precursors with engineered strains of fast-growing, saprophytic mycobacteria in single fermentation steps. The bioconversion of phytosterols has not been widely adopted in the biotechnology industry because of problems with microbial strains, process efficiency and therefore poor yield. At the heart of project MySterI is the bioconversion of phytosterols to 3β-hydroxyandrost-5-ene-17-one (DHEA) or to androst-4-ene-3,17-dione (AD) (intermediary precursor) and then to 11α-hydroxyandrost-4-ene- 3,17-dione (11-α-OH-AD) and testosterone. To achieve this goal, project MySterI has the following objectives Genome sequencing and annotation of Mycobacterium sp. NRRL B-3805 (AD-producer) to identify key bioconversion genes and to enable ‘omics tools. Understanding of phytosterol bioconversion by means of ‘omics technologies Development of the genetic engineering tools for Mycobacterium sp. NRRL B-3805 Construction of mycobacterial strains capable of producing 11-α-OH-AD, DHEA and testosterone. Designing more efficient and eco-friendly methods of production and downstream processing for the three selected compounds. Expected results The outputs from MySterI will be: i) novel strains capable of producing three valuable C19-steroid precursors from phytosterol ii) knowledge of the biochemistry of steroid biotransformations iii) optimized fermentation and eco-friendly downstream processes for the single-step production of steroids precursors using Mycobacterium sp. NRRL B-3805. Exploitation Efficient, cheap and environmentally clean production of intermediate steroids will confer a highly competitive status to Gadea Pharmaceutical Group and Pharmins Ltd. (industrial partners) in the regulatory market of the steroids. Additional indirect outcomes will be: i) the improvement of the European biotechnological business network, and ii) the establishment of research and industrial collaborations with Russia (novel incorporation to the ERA-IB call).

Acronym MySterI
Duration 01/01/2013 - 30/09/2013
Website visit project website
Network ERA-IB-2
Call 3rd ERA-IB Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Instituto de Biotecnología de León Coordinator Spain
University of York United Kingdom
Technical University of Dortmund - Department of Biochemical and Chemical Engineering Germany
Gadea Biopharma S.L. Spain
Pharmins Ltd. Russia