Ergothioneine is a rare amino acid used as an antioxidant in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. In 2015, Nagase Sangyo Cobegan development of an environmentally friendly bioproduction process capable of providing a stable supply of inexpensive ergothioneine by microbial fermentation. In 2019, Nagase joined NEDO’s Smart Cell Project to accelerate this program and, using synthetic biology, arrived at a 1000fold higher productivity. To this end, enzyme modification, metabolic pathway design, gene synthesis and high-throughput evaluation, and transporter search were being used.
NEDO news release, September 30, 2020