Agile BioFoundry Partners with Pow.Bio to Test Continuous Fermentation Platform

The Agile BioFoundry (ABF) is partnering with biomanufacturing company Pow.Bio to test their continuous fermentation platform in a promising microbial host. 

Pow.Bio’s two-chamber continuous fermentation platform aims to make biomanufacturing more cost-efficient and reliable. The company’s goal is to utilize their platform for various hosts and target products. Together with the ABF, they will test their platform in Rhodosporidium toruloides for the biomanufacturing of fatty alcohols, which are used widely in detergents and surfactants. The fatty alcohol market is expected to reach $7 billion by 2025.

Building off the ABF’s extensive work on R. toruloides, the team will use genetic engineering to optimize the strain for the continuous production of fatty alcohols on Pow.Bio’s continuous fermentation platform. 

Strain development at the ABF will focus on improving productivity and contamination resistance, and on dividing the process into clearly separated growth and production stages to make the strain more suitable for continuous production.

Candidate strains will then be tested at the Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Development Unit (ABPDU) in traditional batch and continuous fermentation systems, in order to determine optimal strains to be transitioned to Pow.Bio’s two-chamber continuous fermentation system. 

The project’s ultimate goal is to successfully run the fermentation in Pow.Bio’s system for over 500 hours at a 2x higher productivity than the traditional batch fermentation. 

Pow.Bio sees this work as contributing to their long-term goal to commercialize their technology and have a wider impact on the biomanufacturing industry. 

“The further development of R. toruloides will translate to and benefit multiple bioproduct processes,” said Maggie Stoeva, senior scientist at Pow.Bio. “The further development and expansion of continuous fermentation will, in turn, revolutionize biomanufacturing.”