Menlo Park, CA (PRWEB) June 29, 2012
DNA2.0 announced that the USPTO has recognized its bioengineering work by awarding the company a new patent. Patent 8,158,391 covers genetic modifications to yeast of the genus Candida that enable them to produce commercially valuable yields of omega hydroxy fatty acids. Until now, these key chemical building blocks could only be produced using synthetic chemistry, making them too expensive for most applications. DNA2.0 expects this new bio-based production route to make hydroxy fatty acids available for the synthesis of lubricants, adhesives and monomers for a unique family of bio-based plastics. Unlike existing bioplastics, this new polymer will have properties very similar to polyethylene, allowing for easy acceptance in the marketplace. The plastics can be used for packaging and other purposes and can afterwards be broken down and turned into diesel fuel.
DNA2.0 collaborated with Professor Richard Gross and his lab at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, N.Y. to engineer the yeast. The yeast production strain was engineered to produce omega hydroxy fatty acids by identifying and eliminating from the yeast genome 16 genes that had been preventing accumulation of the desired compounds. DNA2.0 then introduced genes encoding different hydroxylation enzymes, allowing Professor Gross' lab to identify those that best produced hydroxyl fatty acids.
“This patent demonstrates the value of DNA2.0’s tools, which have enabled a small team of scientists to rewire a cell for cost-effective production of useful chemicals,” said Jeremy Minshull, cofounder and CEO of DNA2.0. “Weaning ourselves from petrochemicals will require us to develop renewable alternatives without compromising performance. We are proud to leverage our engineering expertise to co-develop solutions with pioneering scientists such as Pro
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