The Promise of Biotechnology Is Here Today, and Dyadic Is Determined to Make a Difference
(CFOCEO Magazine) …Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – April 20, 2012
…C1 is a very unique fungus we found in the Russian soil in an alkaline lake in the early 1990’s. We selected that fungus because we were looking at the time for a fungus that would make enzymes that would wash your blue jeans to make them softer, more fashionable, and more comfortable, which were the stonewashed blue jeans back in the early 1980’s. We looked at many different fungi and we identified C1 in terms of its ability to break down cellulose and, of course, cotton, which is cellulose at a neutral pH. At the time, we were looking to not destroy the cellulose, but to soften and fade it and make it more comfortable and fashionable as I mentioned earlier. That led us to taking this discovery, the particular C1 fungus, bringing it back to the United States and then breeding it to make it more productive. It is similar to when you breed cattle over a millennium to make more and more milk or corn over a millennium to produce more and more corn per acre. We did the same thing with C1. We did classical mutagenesis, which means we selected and mutagenized the fungal spores to find better and better producers of cellulase that showed high activity at neutral pH. It is like taking Barney Fife and turning him into Superman. By that, I mean we ended up somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-plus grams per liter of total protein being produced from this fungus, C1, that had the cellulase enzymatic profile we wanted. Where originally, when we found C1 in nature, the wild type fungus produced less than a quarter of a gram per liter of a less than ideal enzyme mixture that wasn’t commercially useful or scalable. So we created a C1 fungal strain and fermentation process that was approximately 400 fold more productive in terms of its total protein and enzyme performance capabilities.
We then took the improved commercial C1 fungus back over to Europe. This time we did not go to Russia. We went to Holland to an institute there called TNO, which was and is one of the world’s renowned industrial biotech research centers. They have very highly skilled scientists there that turn microorganisms into these production systems. We spent over a decade at TNO creating this molecular tool kit to put DNA in and to take DNA out of this particular commercially relevant fungus. Therefore, when we grow it in fermenters, it produces higher levels of the targeted proteins and enzymes we want, and we reduce or eliminate the production of the proteins and enzymes that may be degratory or which may interfere with the performance we are looking for. We basically created a way to make proteins in large scale very affordably.
C1 has been used to manufacture enzymes since 1996 at up to 150,000 liter scale.
…This is a 15 year journey of constant improvements, modifications, molecular biology, applying genomics, proteomics; all of the things that it takes to create expression systems. READ MORE