Jess Tallis

Engineering Yeast Organelles for Saponin Production

University of Edinburgh

Prof. Susan Rosser

Unilever

I graduated from the University of Sheffield with an MBiolSci in Biochemistry and Microbiology in June 2019. During my final year research project, I investigated mutants of the extremophilic red algae, G. sulphuraria 141.DG.

I am currently an IBioIC PhD candidate studying at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with Unilever. My project surrounds saponin production in S. cerevisiae, optimising the yields of these industrially, for use by Unilever. Saponins make up a vast array of chemical compounds and are naturally produced in low quantities in plants. These compounds have a range of applications, including home and personal care products (surfactants), pharmaceuticals (anti-inflammatory properties), and food and drink products (gelling agents). Yeasts can heterologously express saponin biosynthesis genes and are a great host for the large-scale industrial production of high-value compounds. Therefore, the production of saponins in these organisms provide an industrially viable option (over plant/petrochemical use), on the condition that we can produce large quantities of product.

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