27 April 2016

CO2 Can Be Part of the Solution

Interesting group of presentations focused on the use of sunlight and carbon capture at BIO’s World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology

That was the bold message from startup EnobraQ during a Wednesday morning panel at BIO’s World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in San Diego. The panel sessions were still going strong on the final day of the Congress, and with a large number of startups presenting it seemed to be the start of a new round of technology transfer and commercialization.

An interesting group of presentations focused on the use of sunlight and carbon capture for new products. Carbon capture and utilization for new products (as opposed to sequestration, which entails storing it underground) was the common idea.

Cellana presented its algae production facility, based in Kona, Hawaii, as a solution to both climate change and the need for increased food production, with higher nutrition. Cellana grows algae – using sunlight and CO2 – primarily for the oils and as a source of animal feed. Algae are naturally high in omega-3 nutrients, which improves the health of the animal and makes it a more nutritious food for people.

Phytonix also presented its platform for using cyanobacteria to produce renewable chemicals. The phytoplankton are fed with CO2 and other nutrients to store energy as glycogen. Phytonix uses synthetic biology to turn off the glycogen production and storage and convert the metabolic pathway to generate targeted chemicals, currently n-butanol.

Arzeda is an additional company that utilizes sunlight and CO2 to produce chemicals and nutrient-enhanced animal feed. The company today announced a partnership with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based gene synthesis company Gen9. Arzeda will use Gen9’s synthetic biology platform to develop novel crop traits and enzymes. Arzeda on Tuesday gave a presentation on how its enzymes enable animal producers to make more use of silage and forage feeds by increasing their nutritive value.

Source: Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), press release, 2016-04-26.

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