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Production of indigo by recombinant bacteria

Linke, Julia A; Rayat, Andrea; Ward, John M; (2023) Production of indigo by recombinant bacteria. Bioresources and Bioprocessing , 10 , Article 20. 10.1186/s40643-023-00626-7. Green open access

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Indigo is an economically important dye, especially for the textile industry and the dyeing of denim fabrics for jeans and garments. Around 80,000 tonnes of indigo are chemically produced each year with the use of non-renewable petrochemicals and the use and generation of toxic compounds. As many microorganisms and their enzymes are able to synthesise indigo after the expression of specific oxygenases and hydroxylases, microbial fermentation could offer a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing platform. Although multiple small-scale studies have been performed, several existing research gaps still hinder the effective translation of these biochemical approaches. No article has evaluated the feasibility and relevance of the current understanding and development of indigo biocatalysis for real-life industrial applications. There is no record of either established or practically tested large-scale bioprocess for the biosynthesis of indigo. To address this, upstream and downstream processing considerations were carried out for indigo biosynthesis. 5 classes of potential biocatalysts were identified, and 2 possible bioprocess flowsheets were designed that facilitate generating either a pre-reduced dye solution or a dry powder product. Furthermore, considering the publicly available data on the development of relevant technology and common bioprocess facilities, possible platform and process values were estimated, including titre, DSP yield, potential plant capacities, fermenter size and batch schedule. This allowed us to project the realistic annual output of a potential indigo biosynthesis platform as 540 tonnes. This was interpreted as an industrially relevant quantity, sufficient to provide an annual dye supply to a single industrial-size denim dyeing plant. The conducted sensitivity analysis showed that this anticipated output is most sensitive to changes in the reaction titer, which can bring a 27.8% increase or a 94.4% drop. Thus, although such a biological platform would require careful consideration, fine-tuning and optimization before real-life implementation, the recombinant indigo biosynthesis was found as already attractive for business exploitation for both, luxury segment customers and mass-producers of denim garments.

Type: Article
Title: Production of indigo by recombinant bacteria
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s40643-023-00626-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40643-023-00626-7
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Bioprocess, Biocatalysis, Commercialization, Heterologous DNA expression, Recombinant biology, Scale up, Sustainability, Vat dye
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Biochemical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10167572
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