Lipid bodies in Green Cells

The purpose of this project is to modify green cell factories in order to increase economic feasibility of production by increasing production of oil and fine chemicals through enhance oil body formation.

Green cell factories are great biosynthetic platforms for both fine and bulk chemical production. However, several aspects needs to be optimized prior to competitive production in green cell factories. We will target the lipid body formation and obtain synergetic effects by utilizing the moss Physcomitrella patens and different microalgae as models. The chosen species are already in use for production or as models for production making them excellent choices. We will deregulate oil body formation through upregulation of oil body forming proteins and downregulation of oil degrading enzymes. This will increase the capacity for production of hydrophobic fine chemicals and bulk oil for biodiesel production making production economically feasible.

The first obtained lines will be tested locally using a newly established cell tumbler bioreactor. This can use up to 10 L transparent plastic bags, and is useful for growing photosynthetic cells when they are placed under light. The cell lines obtained from the initial studies will be used for large scales studies together with NovaGreen in Germany. They have facilities that allow very large scale testing, and allow us to test the lines at production scale. 

A grant (4005-00158B – FTP) of 6,344,172.00 DKK was obtained from The Danish Council for Independent Research - Technology and Production Sciences.


Henrik Toft Simonsen
Associate Professor
DTU Bioengineering