Matrix Genetics asserts breakthrough with Spirulina genetic engineering
From a press release
Spirulina are cultivated worldwide for use as a human and animal food supplement due to their high protein content. They are also a rich source of B vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidant carotenoids such as beta-carotene. Yet global production of Spirulina has been held back by the lack of efficient genetic engineering methods that have been crucial in increasing the availability of other global sources of protein such as soy, canola and corn.
Matrix has broken through this bottleneck by being the first to invent rapid and efficient genetic methods for modifying Spirulina. These methods have been long sought after by the algal industry, but have proven elusive.
"Genetic engineering is the key technology for the manufacture of almost all valuable products by industrial micoorganisms. Matrix has finally discovered how to bring this technology to Spirulina," said Jim Roberts, Chief Scientific Officer at Matrix Genetics. "Our technology allows us to stably and precisely introduce new genes into the Spirulina genome, resulting in increased amounts of valuable proteins, new biochemical pathways and improved production traits."
For the first time, global production of Spirulina with greatly increased amounts of these proteins and pigments is a reality. One of the first applications of Matrix's new technology is a strain of Spirulina that can double the yield of phycocyanin, a natural antioxidant that is used as a nutritional supplement as well as a blue pigment for the food, cosmetic and medical industries. The market for phycocyanin is predicted to double over the next three years, and Matrix's new technology is well positioned to help industry meet this increased demand.