Providing a path for the standardized production of flavonoids
By using synthetic biology, the SynBio4Flav project aims to provide a cost-effective alternative to current flavonoid production. SynBio4Flav’s scientific challenge is to produce flavonoids by breaking down their complex biosynthetic pathways into standardized specific parts, which can be transferred to engineered microorganisms within Synthetic Microbial Consortia to promote flavonoid assembly through distributed catalysis. SynBio4Flav’s groundbreaking approach has great potential beyond the production of flavonoids. The project’s ultimate goal is to deliver a paradigm shift in biotechnological manufacturing of complex natural chemicals.
Flavonoids are phytonutrients occurring naturally in plants. Thousands of flavonoids have been identified, each with its unique set of bioactivities that may be important for health benefits. Flavonoid-rich foodstuffs include parsley, onions, berries, black tea, green tea, oolong tea, all citrus fruits, bananas, sea-buckthorns, buckwheat, Ginkgo biloba, red wine and dark chocolate. Depending on the type they can exhibit anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties. They could also support our immune and cardiovascular systems and help to modulate key functions of enzymes in our cells.
Flavonoids are used in numerous applications including functional food & beverages, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Despite the growing market demand for flavonoids, current production is constrained by conventional manufacturing processes using plant-based sources. Furthermore, their production remains elusive to chemical synthesis and biotech-based approaches.
In the third of our series of conversations, we discuss how the progress in scientific research and biotechnological developments can be translated into a change within food cultures. Experts from the fields of human nutrition, precision fermentation, alternative proteins, regulatory consulting discuss science-led solutions for a next generation of food.