Potential vitamin and Alzheimer's drug produced in yeast

phys.org | 11/9/2017 | Staff
lhumaralhumara (Posted by) Level 3
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Scientists prove that ergothioneine, an important compound that may be used to delay the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia, can be produced in baker's yeast.

Ergothioneine is a natural amino acid with antioxidative properties. It prevents cellular stress, which can lead to brain diseases, neurological damage and cancer. In rats and roundworms, research shows that ergothioneine has promising effects in preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's. Also, it has been reported that patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases have significantly lower blood levels of ergothioneine than others. These findings suggest that ergothioneine might have great potential as a vitamin to prevent or delay the onset of those diseases.

Ergothioneine - Synthesis - Engineering - Baker - Yeast

Currently, it is both complicated and expensive to produce ergothioneine with chemical synthesis. However, by engineering and optimizing baker's yeast, scientists from The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain) has for the first time exploited the potential of making ergothioneine in yeast in a biobased fashion.

In a study published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, the researchers were able to produce 0.6 grams of ergothioneine per liter yeast broth in a small-scale fermentation process.

Today - Chemical - Production - Routes - Market

Because of today's expensive chemical production routes, current market prices of ergothioneine are very high compared to vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin D that also prevent certain diseases. Thus, one of the main goals for the scientists is to further optimize the production of ergothioneine to reach a higher yield so it can be sold to the consumer at a much cheaper price in the future.

One of the main reasons for ergothioneine being so expensive at the moment is that the chemical process is costly and the yields fairly low. Furthermore, it has not been tested for its efficacy for the prevention or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases in humans yet. But since the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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