Beyond antimicrobials

Opening access to new active ingredients

The extraordinary potential of microbial dark matter is not limited to antimicrobials alone. The thousands of rare strains and bacterial extracts of DEINOVE's collection are a huge reservoir of active ingredients that are of interest to various industry sectors. To take full advantage of this biodiversity, and in parallel to its internal R&D programs in the fields of antimicrobials, DEINOVE has opened its platform to partnerships with several industry leaders. Such partnerships have already led to the development and marketing of active ingredients with novel properties, such as a colorless carotenoid, a neurosporene concentrate and a glycosphingolipid-based extract. These innovative compounds are produced by bacterial micro-factories engineered from extremophilic strains of DEINOVE’s collection, including Deinococcus geothermalis and Sphingomonas hydrophobicum.

To increase their competitiveness, microorganisms dedicate a large portion of their genomes to the production of secondary metabolites (antimicrobials, alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenoids, polyketides, non-ribosomal peptides...). A single microbe is able to produce 30-50 natural compounds [1] leading to an almost unlimited source of secondary metabolites within the microbial world. To date, less than 0.1% of biodiversity has been exploited but the benefits of this exploration are already considerable. In 150 years, thousands of natural products have been developed for health (antimicrobials, anti-cancer drugs, cardiotonic agents, analgesics...), nutrition and cosmetics (antioxidants, colorants, emulsifiers, preservatives...).

By recently revealing the existence of an immense microbial dark matter, scientists have opened the way to the exploitation of an unsuspected metabolic diversity. DEINOVE has established its position as a pioneer in this exploitation by developing a unique collection of rare strains and acquiring cutting-edge expertise in genetic, metabolic and fermentation engineering, thus firmly stepping onto the territory of previously unknown, uncultivatable or poorly studied microorganisms with complex genetic profiles.

An expert in engineering rare bacteria

DEINOVE has developed a wide expertise in extremophilic bacteria, a group of microorganisms that thrive under very hostile environments: high temperature, high pressure, hyper-salinity, acidity, radioactivity... To adapt to such extreme conditions, these microorganisms have developed extraordinary genetic and metabolic capabilities. Deinococcus, for instance, protects itself from drought- and radiation-induced cellular damage through the production of antioxidant molecules such as Deinoxanthin; when damage does occur, it can also repair hundreds of breaks in its chromosomes within just a few hours! Thermus aquaticus is a another peculiar species whose metabolism has adapted to very high temperatures (up to 80°C). In particular, it produces thermostable enzymes such as the Taq polymerase, which is widely used in molecular biology laboratories to amplify DNA molecules by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Other bacteria in the DEINOVE collection, such as Sphingomonas, thrive in poor and contaminated environments using toxic compounds as nutrients.

[1] Antimicrobial biosynthetic potential and diversity of culturable soil actinobacteria from forest ecosystems of Northeast India; P. Sharma and D. Thakur; Nature Scientific Report 2020, 10 :4104