Membrane transport engineering
Industrial biotechnology relies on nature’s tool set and converts bacteria, yeast and fungi into microbial cell factories to generate value-added products such as biological detergents, chemical building blocks, food additives, pharmaceuticals and biofuels.
- In the past decades themes such as synthetic biology and metabolic engineering gained momentum and were also introduced in industrial biotechnology, opening doors for synthesis of compounds non-natural to the host.
- Yet, here some limitations are met; in many cases problems are encountered to get the compound out of the cell resulting in toxic effects, low yields and additional processing costs.
To intensify industrial biotechnological processes, it’s important to understand and exploit the mechanisms of transport into and out of cells. This is where the BioPort team of Prof. Van Bogaert is focusing on. Check our Team page to find out more on the individual projects.
BioPort is part of the Centre for Synthetic Biology at the University of Ghent:
The yeast Starmerella bombicola
One of the most promising biosurfactants or biological detergents are sophorolipids produced by the yeasts Starmerella bombicola. We performed pioneering work regarding the development of molecular tools for this unconventional yeast and elucidated the core sophorolipid biochemical pathway. This opened doors for advanced engineering of the yeast and turning it into a versatile production platform for various biomolecules. Moreover, we study this species in the framework of transporter mechanism elucidation and transport engineering tool development.