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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2013 13F463 NUIM €100,100

Project Title:

Developing budding yeast as a factory for production of the antioxidant ergothioneine

Project Coordinator:

Dr Gary Jones

Project Abstract

The addition of beneficial biochemicals to foodstuffs is well established. A variety of antioxidant compounds are used as food preservatives and are also thought to provide potential health benefits for consumers. Hence, the cheap production of stable and powerful antioxidants, which have potential usage as a beneficial food additive, is highly desirable. Ergothioneine is a naturally occurring modified amino acid that has a high redox potential and is more stable and active compared to other antioxidant additives that are currently used in the food industry. Presently the only way to commercially produce ergothioneine is through a complex and expensive chemical process. In this project we will engineer the Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) organism Saccharomyces cerevisae (baker’s yeast) as a “cell factory” to produce ergothioneine. We will assess and optimize the levels of ergothioneine production and test feasibility of commercial scale¿up. Additionally we will test the biological activity of ergothioneine produced in baker’s yeast. This project offers real potential for development of a cheap production strategy for this potentially commercially important antioxidant molecule. The project will result in the training of an MSc¿level postgraduate with skills required by the Irish food science research sector and offers excellent value for money.

Final Report: