Local Electron Delivery in Bioinks for Efficient Yeast Cell Factories

Duration of the project

01.06.2021. - 15.11.2021.

Countries and institutions involved in the project

Tallinn University of Technology
Albert-Ludwig University Freiburg

Project manager

Prof. Dr. Petri-Jaan Lahtvee

Project aims

The need for sustainable processes to produce value-added chemicals and materials displays a major challenge of our time. Engineered microbes have the proven power to solve these challenges, as more efficient processes are required in terms of the cell factory as well as the cultivation performance. Bioprocesses currently used in industry are primarily based on batch and fed-batch mode, where yields and productivities have peaked and require technological innovations to uplift this cap on productivities. Additive manufacturing technologies can provide opportunities to move beyond traditional processes and empower a new industrial revolution. 3D printing can be applied together with engineered microbes to print living materials with superior properties than common suspension cultures used in biorefineries. Those living materials consist of a bioink which encapsulates the host organism – a cell factory for the desired product.

One bottleneck in engineered microbes is the regeneration of co-factors, which are critical for their efficiency. To overcome this, special conductible bioinks for living materials can be designed that help embedded microbes by the delivery of electrons for co-factor regeneration. The successful implementation of such a platform has the potential to increase the efficiency of engineered microbes by multiples and, hence, create sustainable biorefinery processes.

Main activities and venues

1. Freiburg (Germany):

  • Synthesis and formulation of suitable bioink candidates
  • Investigation of physical properties of selected bioinks

2. Tallinn (Estonia)

  • Testing biocompatibility of candidate inks and printing setups
  • Setting up a workflow for living materials
  • Comparing common cell culture vs. living materials culture

Direct and indirect target group

The direct target group of the project comprises ca. 10 persons, who will be directly involved in the outlined activities. Those people are from both groups.

The indirect target group comprises ca. 50 people, including people from both institutes and interested students, who might take part in a future collaboration.