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Triple Science Network

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1 Triple Science Network
Biotechnology

2 What is Biotechnology? Biotechnology uses biological processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet. 

3 Biotechnology and Food Production
Age old technologies:

4 Biotechnology and Food Production
Newer technologies: Production of “vegetarian cheese” using genetically modified micro-organisms to produce chymosin (rennet). Purple tomatoes – genetically modified to contain an antioxidant thought to help prevent cancer. Use of the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens to produce herbicide resistant crops. Genetically modifying crops using the Bacillus thuringiensis bacterium to produce insect-resistance. Production of a high protein food source from fungi – Mycoprotein. Production of invertase enzyme from yeast – used in manufacture of sweets. Production of lactose-free milk using immobilised enzymes.

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6 GCSE Biology unit 3 Mycoprotein

7 Which pairs of pictures go together and why
Which pairs of pictures go together and why? What is the connection between all 4 pictures?

8 Which pairs of pictures go together and why
Which pairs of pictures go together and why? What is the connection between all 4 pictures?

9 Fusarium venenatum is a type of fungus with a high protein content
Fusarium venenatum is a type of fungus with a high protein content. It is grown in a fermentor to produce a food source – mycoprotein – also known as Quorn. Fusarium sporotrichoides is a type of fungal pathogen which was used to produce a biological weapon. The Soviets were accused of using this weapon, dubbed “yellow rain”, to cause over 6,000 deaths in Laos, Kampuchea, and Afghanistan between 1975 and 1981. Fusarium sporotrichioides in the grain in Russia is believed to have caused the deaths of at least 100,000 people who obtained the toxin in bread made from overwintered Fusarium-infected wheat in the first half of the 20th Century

10 Recap of Scientific Classification
What’s in a name? Recap of Scientific Classification K Fungi Kingdom Ascomycota Phylum P Class Sordariomycetes C Hypocreales O Order Family Nectriaceae F Fusarium G Genus S Species F. venenetum F. sporotrichoides Food source! Biological weapon!

11 Fusarium is a large genus of filamentous fungi widely found in soil and in association with plants. Most species are harmless. Some species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human and animal health if they enter the food chain. Fusarium sporotrich found in contaminated wheat grain in Russia in 1930’s spurring research into its use in Biological warfare. Yellow rain – bee faeces? Unproved.

12 Alternative starter activity
We only need to know about Fusarium venenatum and its role in producing mycoprotein! Alternative starter activity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYGrymywG5c

13 Teaching activities: Research activity What is mycoprotein?
What are the health benefits of eating mycoprotein? What other benefits of mycoprotein are there? How is mycoprotein produced? Good discussion topic!

14 Temperature, pH, nutrient and O2 levels are continuously monitored
Nutrients such as potassium and magnesium are added The fermenter is sterilised and filled with a water and glucose solution. ___ Aerobic conditions Then a batch of the fungi Fusarium is introduced Growing mycoprotein uses same principle as brewing beer or growing penecillium to produce penicillin. Rapid growth of the micro-organism – lots of heat generated by the metabolising fungi – thus cooling system required. (Heat provided initially to encourage growth.) The fungi and the nutrients combine to form mycoprotein solids which are removed continuously from the fermenter

15 Air lift or 'loop' fermenter
Fermenter is 40 m high continuously runs for five to six weeks at a time. The fermenter then goes through a sterilization process for two weeks Introduction of compressed air at the base reduces the density of the broth, which therefore rises. Gases, including carbon dioxide produced by fungal respiration, leave the broth at the top and are pumped out. The broth, now with increased density, descends in the other limb of the vessel. Thus the air supply both agitates the broth and supplies oxygen for the aerobic process. (ammonia provides Nitrogen needed for protein production) Air lift method better as less damage to cell membranes from stirring mechanism. If the culture is thick or sticky additional stirring is required by a motor driven paddle called an impeller . While initially the culture may need warming to start of the process – once it has started a cooling system is vital.

16 Control of fermenters – Bioengineering/chemical engineering careers – 24hr monitoring of fermenters needed. Also of great interest is interfacing with computers to monitor and control fermenters. You can appreciate that the pipes, fittings, wires, and sensors of a fermenter constitute a complicated system in which many things can go wrong.

17 The largest fermenter in the world!
200’ high and 25’ in diameter. The photo above shows the fermenter being transported on vehicles with tank treads in 1978. The fermenter being raised into position at the ICI factory in Billingham.

18 1,500m3 fermenter Animal Feed (Pruteen) Dismantled in 1988
Bacterial Single Cell Protein produced as a protein rich food source for animals – not economically viable. However, the technical expertise gained led the way for the development of smaller (40m3) fermentors for the growth of fungal biomass for human consumption – Quorn. 1,500m3 fermenter Animal Feed (Pruteen) Dismantled in 1988

19 Drug manufacture – Biologics, including monoclonal antibodies.
Biologics - medicinal products that are created by biological processes rather than via chemical synthesis. Often uses recombinant DNA technology. Drug manufacture – Biologics, including monoclonal antibodies.

20 Products based on genetic engineering tend to be produced in small amounts and are suited to much smaller bioreactors Fermenter at KSRC

21 Mycoprotein flow chart activity

22 Mycoprotein is made in 40 metre high fermenters
1st 7 statements cover growth in the fermenter Mycoprotein is made in 40 metre high fermenters Once the organism starts to grow, a continuous feed of nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and phosphate are added to the solution. Next, a batch of Fusarium venenatum, the fungi that is the base for Mycoprotein, is introduced. The fungi uses the nutrients to grow and forms Mycoprotein solids, which are removed continuously from the fermenter after an average ‘residence time’ of five to six hours. Each fermenter is filled with a water and glucose solution. The pH balance, temperature, nutrient concentration and oxygen are all constantly adjusted to reach the optimum growth rate. Each fermenter is continuously run for five to six weeks at a time. The fermenter then goes through a sterilization process of two weeks.

23 Mycoprotein is made in 40 metre high fermenters
1st 7 statements cover growth in the fermenter Mycoprotein is made in 40 metre high fermenters Each fermenter is filled with a water and glucose solution. Next, a batch of Fusarium venenatum, the fungi that is the base for Mycoprotein, is introduced. Each fermenter is continuously run for five to six weeks at a time. The fermenter then goes through a sterilization process of two weeks. Once the organism starts to grow, a continuous feed of nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and phosphate are added to the solution. The pH balance, temperature, nutrient concentration and oxygen are all constantly adjusted to reach the optimum growth rate. The fungi uses the nutrients to grow and forms Mycoprotein solids, which are removed continuously from the fermenter after an average ‘residence time’ of five to six hours.

24 The next 6 statements cover processing after removal from the fermenter
The product is then frozen. This is a very important part of the process, as the ice crystals help to push the fibres together, creating bundles that give Mycoprotein its meat-like texture. Next, the Mycoprotein is mixed with a little free range egg and seasoning, to help bind the mix. The pieces and mince are then sold under the Quorn™ brand and in a wide range of other products. It is then steam cooked for about 30 minutes and then chilled, before it is minced or chopped into pieces. Water is then removed in centrifuges, and the Mycoprotein left resembles a pasty dough and has a mushroom-like smell. After it is removed from the fermenter, the Mycoprotein is heated to 65°C. This breaks down most of the fungal nucleic acid, the level of which would otherwise exceed health and safety limits.

25 The next 6 statements cover processing after removal from the fermenter
After it is removed from the fermenter, the Mycoprotein is heated to 65°C. This breaks down most of the fungal nucleic acid, the level of which would otherwise exceed health and safety limits. Water is then removed in centrifuges, and the Mycoprotein left resembles a pasty dough and has a mushroom-like smell. → Next, the Mycoprotein is mixed with a little free range egg and seasoning, to help bind the mix. It is then steam cooked for about 30 minutes and then chilled, before it is minced or chopped into pieces. Significant amount of processing required before you have an edible product. Also lots of spent medium requires safe disposal. The product is then frozen. This is a very important part of the process, as the ice crystals help to push the fibres together, creating bundles that give Mycoprotein its meat-like texture. The pieces and mince are then sold under the Quorn™ brand and in a wide range of other products. →

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27 Producing mycoprotein using aseptic techniques

28 Don’t do it this way with students!

29 Fusarium solani grown as a slope culture in a universal bottle

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34 Further practical work
Provide students with samples of Quorn products so they can see the finished product. They can handle this, look at it under microscope etc. Food testing: students can carry out tests for fat and protein on the Quorn products to show these nutrients are present in mycoprotein.

35 Using the data above, explain why Quorn could be described as a healthier alternative to meat.

36 Free trial of Multimedia Science School

37 Thank you for attending
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