Surfactants – or surface-active agents – are the primary components of many chemical formulations like cleaning detergents or soaps. By reducing the surface tension on a surface, they are helping to trap dirt and remove it from the surface. While surfactants are typically derived from petroleum or synthetic chemicals, biosurfactants are biologically produced by microorganisms. Their production is tightly regulated by microscopic organisms such as the yeast named Starmerella bombicola. This microorganism naturally produces a mixture of different biosurfactant molecules. Depending on the field of application, different distributions of these molecules are commercially interesting, and are not currently available on the market.
To this end, we propose to genetically modify this strain to promote the production of unique or specific biosurfactant mixtures. By manipulating its genome, and thus its biological metabolism, we will ensure the tight regulation of molecules produced by this yeast. Depending on the biosurfactants distribution, the end product will be curated for specific formulations such as hand soaps, detergents, cosmetics and more.
Genome Centre: Génome Québec
Sarah Martinez – Dispersa