Food (coffee) flavoring
Polymer/ resin component
- While Corynebacterium glutamicum has been previously reported to produce alkyl pyrazines in mixture at low levels over a long cultivation period, the high production titers and rates of enriched tetramethyl pyrazine in glutamicum in this invention provides the foundation for a biotech application.
Tetramethyl pyrazine (TMP), a compound currently prepared from plant extracts or via chemical synthesis, has known and FDA approved use as a coffee flavoring in the food and flavor industry for a variety of brewed and baked food products. It is known as a cognition enhancer and anti-inflammatory agent. Direct extraction of natural tetramethyl pyrazine from plants is limited due to the shortage of raw materials, while the current supply of commercial tetramethyl pyrazine is largely from chemical synthetic methods which involve radical reactions and have unfavorable environmental impacts.
In the present invention, Aindrila Mukhopadhyay and Thomas Eng at Berkeley Lab have engineered a strain of Corynebacterium glutamicum containing a heterologous isoprenoid pathway that converts renewable carbon sources into significant levels of TMP. The engineered strain produces >5 g/L TMP from renewable glucose in laboratory batch-mode cultivations. It is also of importance that C. glutamicum is one of the few microbial platforms that have been successfully scaled up in the industry and thus a scale up using this platform offers practical benefit. The engineered C. glutamicum strain produced > 2g/ L TMP in a 2 liter fed-batch bioreactor and defined conditions.
Alkyl pyrazines also have properties in flame retardation, coatings, and resin formation that could provide application in the polymer industry. Its high production in C. glutamicum could form the foundation of a biotech platform for this versatile compound. Additional work to be conducted involves further optimization of the pathway and cultivation conditions.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
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STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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