LEDs as synthetic biology tools to optimize production of high value plant compounds in greenhouses

Project

LEDs as synthetic biology tools to optimize production of high value plant compounds in greenhouses

Growth conditions in greenhouses can very well be steered to enable production of high-value crops to produce medicine or special food ingredients. Among the many conditions that can be controlled in greenhouses, e.g. temperature, humidity and radiation, supplemental LED light using specific colors are in this respect very promising.

According to an inventory by Wageningen Plant Research - Greenhouse Horticulture, a very promising ingredient to produce in greenhouses is artemisinin and accompanying flavonoids by the plant species Artemisia annua. These substances are the main compounds of whole plant medicine against the malaria parasite. In this project we investigate to what extend the two different pathways leading to these active ingredients (artemisinin and flavonoids) can be controlled to optimize the level and ratio of these compounds. This forms the basis, to in a later stage, adapt the plant with light sensitive regulatory elements (optogenetics) that further enhance the responses to specific LED regimes and thus optimize the biosynthesis of the anti-malarial compounds in Artemisia annua.

Publications