Carotenoids are used in a number of cosmetics applications including as antioxidants, as well as in other markets.
Montpellier-based company Deinove has been focused on developing innovative processes for producing biofuels and bio-based chemicals by using Deinococcus bacteria as host strains, and its researchers now say it has made ‘major’ progress in its developments with these five molecules.
"The five molecules now developed in our program are all commercially used in cosmetics, food supplements and animal feed applications,” says Emmanuel Petiot, CEO of Deinove.
“The diversity of the targeted markets, in terms of application and geography, and the regulatory approaches associated with each, allows us to consider a number of marketing strategies with the aim of commercializing our first batches of target compounds in two and a half years."
Petiot adds that the company believes that carotenoids are a quick access opportunity to the market.
“At a time when oil price is so low, our biodiversity giving us access to specialty compounds, is a real asset to maximize our chances of success,” he says.
The French firm’s researchers say that its development of Deinococcus strains has seen particular progress which could see production be scaled up in the future and has helped identify additional molecules.
According to Deinove, the optimisation of the strain by the high-throughput genetic engineering platform has increased product yields by a factor of 6 to 8 and thus achieving, for some of these molecules, satisfactory levels for subsequent scale-up.
It adds that the identification of the terminal enzymes involved in the production of different carotenoids has allowed the production of three additional molecules of the same family from the two platform molecules initially produced.
The company says its goal is to offer a competitive bio-based alternative for manufacturers by developing a range of natural carotenoids (unlike the current production, which is mainly petro-sourced) produced by biotechnological processes and offering significant advantages in terms of supply stability, consistent high quality, conservation of natural resources and also costs.
The next steps of the program are to increase the final yields and production volumes; develop extraction and purification of these carotenoids to obtain a marketable product; validate the functional benefit of the molecules produced; and continue regulatory proceedings for market authorization.