The Agile BioFoundry and biotech startup Huue are teaming up to further develop a platform that uses microbes to create indigo dye.
Currently, indigo dye is made with toxic chemicals and petroleum derivatives. Huue’s goal is to make this process more sustainable by programming microbes to produce a drop-in replacement — one that can be used in existing dye equipment.
Huue will leverage the Agile BioFoundry’s capabilities in high-throughput engineering, proteomics and metabolomics, and biosensor development to collect data and improve the productivity of this process.
“We want to focus on improving the metrics of our strain,” said Tammy Hsu, co-founder of Huue. “The Agile BioFoundry has a lot of really cool capabilities that can help us develop our process. That way, our team doesn’t need to spend resources building out the areas that the national labs already do so well.”
The project will focus on obtaining more information on the strain’s performance, and then using this data to inform further engineering. The teams will also explore creating biosensors that can enable faster, more targeted screening efforts in protein engineering projects.
“It will be interesting to see what information we’ll get from this data,” Hsu said.
Once the project is complete, Huue plans to use these insights to develop their process further. Their goal is to have a higher-producing strain that is robust enough to scale up their product.
“Working with the Agile BioFoundry is really exciting as it will be a new experience for many members of our team,” Hsu said. “We’re excited to explore these capabilities and leverage these tools to more efficiently engineer our strain.”
This collaboration between the Agile BioFoundry and industry is one of six projects totaling over $5 million announced this year by the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct research and development needed to accelerate the U.S. biomanufacturing sector.
The Agile BioFoundry is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office.