Making the world healthier with a new probiotic platform

Malnutrition is today a major global problem that affects people both in affluent and developing countries. Even if you get the right amount of calories, if these do not contain sufficient amounts of micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, serious illness and even death can be the result. The goal of our project is to alleviate this problem by applying synthetic biology to probiotic bacteria. These bacteria are already a part of normal human diet and our goal is to modify them so that they enrich the nutritional content of the food they grow in.

With our project, we will make the lactobacillus genus the new probiotic platform for metabolic engineering of nutritional compounds. We will engineer probiotics to produce beta-carotene (provitamin), resveratrol (antioxidant), miraculin (sweetener) and saffron (taste). To exemplify what this combination of probiotics and metabolic engineering can accomplish we hope to use our modified bacteria to create nutritionally enriched food products that can be grown all over the world. We have also put great effort into addressing the ethical and safety issues that naturally follow when creating genetically modified food. As a part of this we organised a large event, Uppsala SynBioDay , with over 200 participants where these issues were discussed.