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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Develop GM Microbe for Monogastric Animal Nutrition

March 16, 2016

In plant-derived animal feeds, nearly 80% of the total phosphorus content is stored as phytate. However, phytate is poorly digested by monogastric animals as they lack the hydrolytic enzyme phytase. Therefore, dietary supplementation with available phosphate and exogenous phytases are required to achieve optimal animal growth. To facilitate this, Fernanda Erpel and Franko Restovic of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile developed a phytase expressing cell-wall deficient Chlamydomonas reinhardtii strain.

The team developed a transgenic Chlamydomonas reinhardtii expressing a fungal phytase to be used as a food supplement for monogastric animals. An optimized Aspergillus niger PhyA E228K phytase (mE228K) with improved performance was transformed into the genome of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to achieve optimal expression. The enzymatic activity of the mE228K expressing lines under gastrointestinal conditions was comparable to commercially available phytase.

For more information, read the article on BMC Biotechnology.