Project: Development of a technology platform for the discovery of new industrial biocatalysts from marine bacterial diversity.

Aquapharm Biodiscovery is a leading marine biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of bioactive products derived from marine micro-organisms. Aquapharm’s growing portfolio of marine-derived bioactives has broad commercial application from pharmaceutical APIs to functional ingredients for the personal care and nutritional markets. In addition, Aquapharm’s marine collection holds great promise as a source of novel, sustainable production routes to high value chemicals, including novel biocatalysts. _x000D__x000D_The cornerstone of the company’s discovery platform is a collection of >8,000 marine micro-organisms, which it continues to expand. Aquapharm is seeking to add value to this novel microbial resource through development of screening and product development Pships. These collaborations will help the company drive forward the commercialisation of novel products and biocatalysts from its marine collection for application in the field of renewable, sustainable bio-production of high value chemicals, including specialty chemicals and API. _x000D__x000D_The marine environment, and particularly the marine microbial biosphere, reCOs a largely unexplored resource with valuable commercial potential. The strength of this application is that an existing collection of novel yet accessible biodiversity is available from Aquapharm to establish an immediate source for the development of new enzymes. Initial research carried out by Aquapharm has helped validate the enzyme potential of its micro-organism collection by confirming the presence of novel, industry relevant catalysts such as halogenating enzymes and amine oxidases. Halogenating enzymes, for instance, could be used in biotransformation-based production of halogenated speciality chemical products, including intermediates for pharmaceutical and agrochemical use. Halogenated bioactive natural products, especially brominated compounds, have been found to have antibacterial and anti-cancer properties and have been successfully developed as pharmaceuticals. The application of marine-derived enzymes therefore has the potential to substantially reduce the complexity of current, synthesis-based production processes, decreasing production cost, carbon footprint and overall environmental impact, including reduction of waste by-products and organic solvents. Unlocking the potential of Aquapharm's marine bacteria through Pship with c-LEcta could offer the market a unique source of new enzyme activities that further reduces the environmental impact of modern chemical production processes._x000D__x000D_c-LEcta is an industrial biotechnology company developing and implementing sustainable and economic industrial processes based on customized enzymes and microbial production strains. c-LEcta employs its patented technologies for discovery and optimization of tailor-made enzymes and microbial strains for industrial biotech applications. c-LEcta’s know-how in microbiology and strain engineering is used for the efficient development of production strains for protein and small-molecule products. c-LEcta's technology allows for the isolation of enzymes and strains to help unlock unique new properties from biodiversity, the optimization of sub-optimal processes by strain and enzyme engineering and the setup of efficient production processes for proteins or small molecule products. The whole process from idea to product is streamlined and allows implementations of highly innovative solutions within very short time frames._x000D__x000D_The goal of this proposal is to create novel expression libraries from a sub-set of Aquapharm's proprietary culture collection of marine bacteria. c-LEcta offers Aquapharm access to innovative tools for the development of these libraries based on existing expression systems and screening protocols for different recombinant host systems. Accessing this resource will provide the project Ps with an "off the shelf" tool box for the rapid screening and discovery of new enzymes and biocatalysts providing a clear route to market for new biocatalysis and enzyme products._x000D__x000D_This project brings together significant members of the fields of marine biotechnology and biocatalysis development and engineering for the first time and will help deliver a new source of industrially useful enzymes. This will be achieved by developing highly innovative and powerful screening tools and selection technologies for the development of novel, high yielding, scalable and economic enzyme production systems.

Acronym MariCATs (Reference Number: 6801)
Duration 01/08/2012 - 31/03/2015
Project Topic Proposal objective is the fast-track identification of novel enzymes, including biocatalysts, from Aquapharm's marine microbial strain collection utilising c-LEcta's proprietary screening technologies that could be exploited in multiple markets.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
Purpose of the project was the development of a technology platform for identification of biocatalysts from marine bacterial diversity. We were COly focussing on building expression libraries derived from marine microorganisms which have been provided by our project P Aquapharm. More than 2,000 new marine derived mircoorganisms could be added to c-LEcta's in-house strain collection and most of them have been classified taxonomically by 16S rRNA sequencing. Expression libraries suitable for activity based screenings have been built from two thirds of the microorganisms and are available for screenings within future projects. The reCOing libraries will be built outside the MariCats project so that the complete genomic capacity of the marine microorganisms will become available. Furthermore adapted protocols suitable for preparation of metagenomic DNA from marine samples have been developed meaning that also those samples can be processed in future._x000D_Libraries have been checked by test-screenings for different enzyme classes like dehydrogenases and hydrolases. Selected candidates have been seperated and sequenced revealing new sequence homology landscapes. Although we haven't checked yet the newly identified enzymes for special properties which could be related to the marine origin the test screenings demonstrate that these libraries are an additional source for the identification of new enzymatic activities._x000D_Another aspect of the project was development of screening assays for industrial relevant enzymes. We have chosen nitrile reductase, phytase and transaminase as industrial relevant enzymes for assay development experiments. In case of nitrile reductase the assay development was only a theoretical approach due to the lack of known candidates which could have been used. This assay has additionally been used in the test-screenings of the libraries. Whereas transaminase assays could successfully be developed sensitive activity based screening assays for phytases have been turned out to be very difficult. However evaluation of sequence-based screening methods in the perspective of phytases resulted in several sequence regions which could be used for such a purpose so also screening for phytases should be possible._x000D_
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 7

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 c-LEcta GmbH Coordinator Germany
2 Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd Observer United Kingdom