Amaranthus, a squalene reservoir

Adri­an Tron­coso-Ponce is a lec­tur­er at UTC, spe­cial­ist in plant metab­o­lism. He is also respon­si­ble for “sus­tain­able devel­op­ment” and the “sus­tain­able engi­neer­ing” label with­in the Enzy­mat­ic and Cel­lu­lar Engi­neer­ing (UTC-GEC) laboratory.

One of his research areas? “We’re try­ing to under­stand why ama­ran­thus, a par­tic­u­lar plant, pro­duces large quan­ti­ties of squa­lene, a lipid mol­e­cule used in der­ma­tol­ogy and phar­ma­col­o­gy, par­tic­u­lar­ly in vaccines.

Cur­rent­ly, the main source of squa­lene (as indeed its name indi­cates) is shark liv­er oil. The idea is to be able to sub­sti­tute ani­mal squa­lene with squa­lene from ama­ran­thus”, explains Adri­an Troncoso-Ponce.

In prac­ti­cal terms what does this imply? “To pro­duce ama­ran­thus squa­lene in quan­ti­ty, we are adopt­ing a biotech­no­log­i­cal approach. One of the avenues being explored would be to incor­po­rate ama­ran­thus genes into yeast and put the solu­tion in a fer­menter”, he explains. Enri­co Mag­nani, a researcher at INRAE, is col­lab­o­rat­ing on this research project.

Le magazine

Novembre 2023 - N°61

Activité physique, nutrition & santé

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