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Synthetic biology applied to Rhodosporidium toruloides for fine chemical production

Grant number: 19/04942-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal researcher:Rafael Silva Rocha
Grantee:Luísa Czamanski Nora
Home Institution: Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:12/22921-8 - Synthetic biology approaches for deciphering the logic of signal integration in complex bacterial promoters, AP.JP


The oleaginous and carotenogenic yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides is a promising host for the production of bioproducts from lignocellulosic biomass because it is able to efficiently consume C5 and C6 sugars and lignin-derived aromatic compounds. It also presents a high lipid concentration and a potential to store other compounds derived from acetyl-CoA, such as terpenes. Terpenes are a large group of chemicals that have several applications, and sesquiterpenes, specially, can be used as fragrances, lubricants, and surfactants, in addition to having anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-tumor activities. Thus, using a promising bioconversion host to produce these compounds from vegetal biomass is a suitable and valuable option. Synthetic Biology, combined with Metabolic Engineering, has facilitated the rewiring of carbon flux to specific biosynthetic pathways in microorganisms, mainly those used industrially. Therefore, the proposal of this doctoral project is to apply the knowledge from these two fields to develop and optimize genetic manipulation tools for R. toruloides, in order to produce sesquiterpenes for industrial and pharmaceutical applications, using cane sugar as the main substrate, since it is an abundant and low-cost biomass. In addition, due to the fact that R. toruloides is an emerging host that with few studies, expanding the available toolkit is essential to establish this organism as a microbial cell factory. (AU)

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