ALE can optimize production and fitness in fermentation

December 29, 2019 |

In Denmark, DTU Biosustain and University of California, San Diego researchers have looked through studies about Adaptive Laboratory Evolution (ALE) in industrial biotech and show that ALE, if used smartly, can efficiently improve production strains’ fitness, growth and tolerance.

The acronym ALE may lead one’s thoughts to beer, and as a matter of fact Adaptive Laboratory Evolution has something to do with fermentation (but not beer per se). ALE is about speeding up the timescales associated to evolution and pointing it towards a predefined goal. Used in fermentations in industrial biotech, the researchers behind a literature review in Metabolic Engineering find that ALE can optimise, amongst other things, production and fitness.

“In a single tube of growth you are sampling hundreds of millions of mutations, and as the cells grow, the bacteria are competing against each other and whichever one happens to have adaptive mutation will take over the population,” says first author Postdoc Troy E. Sandberg from the Department of Bioengineering at University of California, San Diego.

“When you speed up evolution from what could naturally take thousands to potentially millions of years to occur to a few weeks or months, you often end up with a microbe that has adapted in many ways,” says Adam Feist, corresponding author of this review. Adam Feist is Research Scientist at the Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego and Senior Researcher and Co-PI at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at Technical University of Denmark, where he also serves as Group Leader of ALE Group.

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Category: Research

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