Salmon peptone could be used in manufacture of high-value biotech products


Marine derived peptone gives enzyme higher yields, UK and Norwegian researchers find

A project led by the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), in partnership with Norway-based Marine Bioproducts (MB), has successfully examined the commercial viability of using marine derived peptones in the production of high value products through fermentation processes.

The Marine IB project, co-funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board and Innovation Norway, set out to assess how a MB peptone might serve as a nutrient for growing micro-organisms, showing that a sustainable co-product of the Norwegian salmon industry could potentially be applied in industrial biotechnology. A memorandum of understanding was signed in February 2011 to develop partnerships in the areas of industrial biotechnology and bio refining.

MB peptone is manufactured using an enzymatic hydrolysis method, which is a cleaner, more efficient alternative to acid hydrolysis, and preserves more nutrients.

In assessing the ability of MB peptone to support growth of a genetically modified (GM) organism and production of a GM enzyme, CPI cloned a model enzyme, glucose dehydrogenase, into Escherichia coli BL21, the most established industry standard GM micro-organism.

Growth was significantly better with MB peptone, particularly after protein expression was ‘switched on’

MB peptone was compared with all-purpose peptones from two other suppliers. Growth was significantly better with MB peptone, particularly after protein expression was ‘switched on’, when cells are under greatest metabolic stress. The model enzyme yields were also higher on MB peptone than on the other two peptones.

To demonstrate that the MB peptone could be used at a pilot scale to grow a non-GM organism, and produce a useful enzyme of sufficient quality to be potentially used in a real industrial process, the protease-producing bacterium Bacillus licheniformis was examined. CPI developed the fermentation and downstream processing at lab scale and transferred the process to its larger facility for production at 750L scale.

MB tested the protease product in pilot trials as a potential replacement for the proteases currently used in their manufacturing process. The quality of the product made using CPI protease was at least as high as that made using the commercial proteases, thus demonstrating the potential application of MB peptone in a real industrial process.

Dr Campbell Tang, Principal Bioscientist at CPI and Technical Lead for Marine IB, said: ‘MB peptone clearly has its own powerful applications – such as Pichia and Saccharomyces – as well as being flexible enough to serve as a general peptone. Marine IB results showed it has consistently performed well against other peptones on the market.’

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Tang added: ‘Sustainable Norwegian marine resources, which may also have great potential as microbiological medium components, are by no means limited to salmon. There are also extensive supplies of blue mussels and herring by-products, for example, which could become alternative feedstocks for production of new marine peptones.’