Carotenoids are powerfull antioxidants and essential in the production of vitamin A. The French synthetic biology biotech Deinove signed an agreement with the Canadian company POS Bio-Sciences with the hope of initiating a major breakthrough to the carotenoid market.
Produced by all green plants, algae, some fungi and cyanobacteria, carotenoid is a group of more than 600 known molecules, mainly responsible for giving plants a red color. In these 600 molecules, famous names such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin should ring the bell. These molecules, not only precursors of Vitamin A, but also efficient antioxidants, play a key role in the animal kingdom and to our sight as vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness. Regarding these specific properties, a few decades ago, a business for carotenoids emerged. Today, the molecules are sold as dietary supplements, food, feed and cosmetics and it is estimated that the market will reach €1.25 billion by 2019 with Europe as the biggest customer and the Asia-Pacific region as the engine of the sales growth.
There are different ways to obtain carotenoids. The 2 most well-known methods are chemical synthesis and plant extraction. Today, chemical synthesis represents most of the sales of carotenoid and the market is held by DSM and BASF. Besides that, DSM is expanding its position regarding natural carotenoids by acquiring different companies (the acquisition of Vitatene is one of the many examples out there) and smaller actors like Döhler Group, FMC Biopolymer and Chr Hansen are using carotenoids as a natural colorant thanks to plant extraction.
Deinove is focused on developping and marketing new indsutrial processes based on specific bacteria called Deinococcus. The company is often under the spotlight. Last month, we already dedicated an article concerning their success in the US and their new collaborations. Today, Deinove is coming up with a new way to produce carotenoids, using the natural propensity of Deinococcus to produce these molecules. Deinoccocus shows critical benefits for the carotenoid production, the bacteria multiply quickly and produce carotenoids naturally from any feedstock. Through their advances in genetic engineering, Deinove can achieve significant levels of production, giving it a real competitive advantage. To make this possible, Deinove’s team worked on the characterization of a 6,000-strain bank, and now got a palette of various carotenoids, some even totally unique. This is the case of Deinoxanthin, a new carotenoid with potentially important antioxidants properties. In order to prepare its insertion on this competitive market, Deinove, decided to join forces with the Canadian company, POS Bio-Sciences, a specialist in the extraction, fractionation, purification and modification of bio-based ingredients.
More than a mere worldwide carotenoid provider, Deinove is developing a new production process and potential new molecules. Through the potential generation of Carotenoids as a co-product of another bioproduction process, the technology is also economically relevant. Nevertheless, the company has to pass critical milestones such as selecting the right compound to extract, developing the downstream process and scaling up the production. There’s still a lot of work to be done in order to disrupt the carotenoid market!