Debut Biotech: Next gen cell-free biomanufacturing could unlock opportunities to biosynthesize far wider set of natural ingredients
By Elaine Watson
- Last updated on
San Diego-based Debut Biotech – co-founded in 2019 - has built a novel ‘cell-free’ biomanufacturing platform, which it claims could unlock opportunities to biosynthesize a far wider set of natural ingredients, from colors to preservatives and antioxidants, says co-founder and CEO Dr Joshua Britton. (Pic: GettyImages-sabelskaya.)
Right now, says Britton, who has recently struck partnerships with DIC (colors) and DSM (multiple ingredients), you can extract natural ingredients from plants, which can be expensive, inefficient, and not always very sustainable; or you can produce them via microbial fermentation, which can’t produce everything the food industry wants.
At Debut Bio, by contrast, Britton is taking some of the machinery of cells (custom-designed enzymes, nature’s tiny biological catalysts) and immobilizing them (essentially fixing them in place) such that they can convert low-value materials such as glucose into high-value ingredients, in a continuous process.
This allows Debut Bio – a UC Irvine spin-off - to operate across a wider range of conditions (pH, temperature) and allows for metabolic transformations that are not possible in cellular [microbial fermentation] systems, claims Britton.