Glasgow Polyomics and Ingenza launch a revolution in how we produce our most important biochemicals in IBioIC funded collaborative project.

RTMet – real time monitoring of fermentation

Ingenza are a leading biotechnology company, producing the molecular building blocks of products from bioplastics to pharmaceuticals. The Scottish SME uses fermentation to grow cells that have been engineered to make high-value molecules in a highly efficient and environmentally friendly way. In this IBioIC funded collaborative project, Glasgow Polyomics applied their expertise in a process called metabolomics to monitor Ingenza’s fermentations in real time. 

A need for better monitoring

As the world wakes up to climate change, there is a move away from our reliance on oil to produce chemicals and a rush towards biological solutions. Many of these solutions involve the use of specially engineered microbes to produce chemicals in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. As these microbes ferment inputs such as sugars, they generate products such as ethanol. On an industrial scale, small changes in the efficiency of these bioprocesses can make large economic differences, so the monitoring of small changes in the sugar to ethanol pathway can become very important. Current methods for monitoring fermentations can be slow and results might be available too late to intervene when an issue has arisen.

Real time monitoring is possible

The RTMet consortium, in a project funded by IBioIC, have successfully developed a mass spectrometry based method that can reliably measure changes to hundreds of molecules in real time.  This method could provide a step-change in the way fermentations are conducted; developing new products and optimising bioprocesses by correcting fermentation problems as they arise. If the industry can pull off this change, we can revolutionise the way we produce our biochemicals putting Scotland ahead of the field in green chemical production.


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