Sustainable co-production

This project combines plant and industrial biotechnology to increase the value of commercially grown tobacco with products that can sustainably substitute fossil raw materials. We aim to establish an economically feasible production system for the biopolymer cyanophycin (CGP) as a byproduct without relevant additional costs, which can be adopted by farmers and biotech companies in Argentina.

CGP is a biopolymer of β-Asp-Arg dipeptides, which is produced naturally by cyanobacteria and can be used as both a valuable N-rich ingredient for the feed industry and as a novel biopolymer for the chemical and material industry. The heterologous production of CGP has already been established in bacteria, yeast and tobacco plants with yields up to 40%, 21% and 9.4% dry weight, respectively. None of these were translated into an industrial production system or brought to market application.

The project tasks are organized in three Workpackages focusing on:

  • Optimization of CGP production by existing CGP-producing tobacco varieties, efficient CGP isolation from tobacco and development of CGP application
  • Introduction of CGP-production in the Solaris tobacco bred for high oil content, implementation of resulting CGP-tobacco lead events in tobacco-growing sites in Argentina and development of CGP, oil and protein isolation protocols for a pilot plant
  • Social and Economic impacts of the novel CGP-producing tobacco cultivars.