PEM

Project Title
Metabolic Engineering Platform
Project Type
Nacional / Public
Funding Body
Funding Program
QREN - I&D em Co-Promoção
Reference
23060
Funding
  • CEB: 156 249,00
  • Total: 378 775,00
Start
01-07-2012
End
30-06-2015
Partnership
Universidade do Minho, SilicoLife
External link

Principal Investigator

Team Members - CEB

Fellowship Members - CEB

Abstract

Industrial Biotechnology has gained widespread importance, promoting the progressive substitution of conventional chemical industry processes by biological ones, with increased environmental efficiency and industrial sustainability. However, biotechnological processes need to be economically competitive with the conventional ones, which is only possible through the use of very efficient and robust biocatalysts, with high productivities and yields. Metabolic Engineering contributes to maximize the production of compounds of industrial interest, using microorganisms that act as microbial cell factories. This process of maximization is sought through the definition of genetic manipulations and/or optimal environmental conditions. To optimize the cellular behavior, minimizing substrate and energy consumption and the production of unwanted products, as well as maximizing the production of biomass and of the target compound are required. The use of mathematical models of several microorganisms, as well as computational tools for strain optimization, offers rational methods prior to the laboratorial validation, thus reducing R&D costs and risks. The main aim of this project is to develop a computational platform to support Metabolic Engineering activities, i.e. an integrated set of informatics tools that allow to determine the best microorganism for a given industrial aim, to simulate the behavior of several strains in different environmental conditions, to identify the best set of genetic modifications to introduce in their strains for a given purpose and to simulate the behavior of these strains in fermentation processes. A further aim of the project is the use of this platform in a case study related to the production of succinate, a product with important industrial interest which is an intermediary in the metabolism of various microbes, but generally produced at extremely low levels.