The University of Florida has granted BioTork a license to patent rights for an enzyme that could transform the animal feed industry when developed by BioTork.
University of Florida researchers have discovered a naturally occurring, thermotolerant phytase. It is the most heat tolerant of these enzymes known today and reportedly retains activity at temperatures up to 100°C, according to the announcement.
BioTork, with an exclusive license to use this phytase, will use its strain development expertise to maximize the efficiency of the production of the heat-tolerant enzyme, with the ultimate goal being to provide an accessible source of thermotolerant phytase to the feed industry around the world.
Phytase is an enzyme used in the processing of animal feed and food in order to increase nutrient availability by breaking down phytate, a non-accessible form of phosphorus with anti-nutrient properties. By adding phytase to animal feed, phosphorus, iron, zinc and calcium are made more bioavailable, and fewer inorganic mineral additions to feed are needed. Not only does this shrink the costs of processing animal feed, but it also decreases environmental eutrophication by reducing the amount of nutrients released through waste that may contaminate the environment, the announcement said.
The major hurdle in using phytase is that, like most enzymes, phytase is deactivated by the high temperatures used in the processing of animal feed. This poses challenges that increase the costs of production tremendously. A low-cost source of heat-tolerant phytase enzymes that are unaffected by processing conditions, as the University of Florida and BioTork are working to create, will have a huge beneficial impact on the production of animal feed and, consequently, the planet, the announcement said.
BioTork chief executive officer Eudes de Crecy explained, “Access to the most heat-tolerant enzyme of this kind, combined with our expertise, is an extraordinary opportunity to greatly advance the feed industry and is a step forward in creating a more sustainable world.”
This project is in line with BioTork’s core philosophy, as the strain development company focuses on renewable chemicals and sustainability. Using a state-of-the-art, patented, proprietary technology, it develops robust microorganisms as the cellular factories to optimize fermentation processes; the company is particularly interested in using microbes to convert low-value carbon sources and waste products into high-value chemical commodities.