News Article | April 17, 2017
« Honda Silicon Valley Lab takes on global role as new company: Honda R&D Innovations | Main | New prototype rechargeable lithium-nitrogen battery » Agrisoma Biosciences, an agricultural company that has commercialized carinata, a non-food oilseed crop designed for sustainable production of biofuels, has closed a $15.4-million Series B financing round, co-led by new investor Groupe Lune Rouge and current investors Cycle Capital Management, and BDC Venture Capital. This Series B round is used to support the global expansion of Agrisoma’s business. Like other oilseed crops, such as canola, soybean and corn, carinata oil is extracted when the harvested seed is crushed. Unlike those crops, carinata is not meant for human food consumption; the oil it produces is intended for industrial use, mainly in the production of bio- and jet-fuels. The carinata plant is extremely tolerant of heat, cold, drought and disease; carinata also fits seamlessly into existing agricultural systems as it requires no special production or processing equipment and methods. As a cover crop, it can rejuvenate soils and protect them from erosion. After processing, the only thing left over is protein—the remains of the crushed seeds—which is a source of dietary protein for animal production. Resonance brand carinata oil is a long chain, mono-unsaturated oil that can be used in a variety of biofuel products: Renewable diesel: Carinata oil can be used in second-generation biofuels, where hydro-treating processes, such as those used in traditional refining are used to process Carinata oil. The resultant fuel is petroleum-equivalent, drop-in fuel that can be used without blending limitations. Hydro-treated products, commonly referred to as HVO, or HRD fuels include diesel and jet fuel equivalent fuels. First Generation Biodiesel (FAME): Because it’s very low in saturated fats, lower than even canola, Resonance brand carinata oil has a low cloud point—i.e., it is less likely to form crystals that cloud the fuel and lead to filter plugging in colder climates. Biojet Fuel (HEFA): With a 40% erucic acid content (a long chain monounsaturated fatty acid), Resonance brand carinata offers manufacturers more efficient conversion into biojet fuel with reduced amounts of secondary products (such as LPG and naphtha) compared to other industrial oilseeds, such as Camelina, Jatropha and Castor. Green chemistry: The long-chain fatty acids in Resonance brand carinata oil are suited for many other industrial applications, such as high performance lubricants and polymer coatings. The company has developed and controls the world’s largest collection of carinata genetic material. The company also has proprietary breeding, tissue culture and molecular mapping technology we use to make continuous improvements in yield, oil content, and other agronomic improvements. The company creates and tests more than 10,000 new carinata lines every year, and has a process to rapidly identify key crop improvements in single breeding cycles. Agrisoma adapts its carinata varieties, sold under the Resonance brand, to each production region. Current varieties are open-pollinated lines that are regionally selected. This funding is enabling us to further the expansion of our business to international markets for our sustainable crop Carinata. The Series B funding was used to develop and execute our new commercial programs in South America, as well as to initiate deliveries of commercial scale volumes of Carinata feedstock to new customers around the world. The funding was also used to develop key markets for the nonGMO, sustainable animal feed co-product, positioning the Carinata business for rapid expansion and scaling of production servicing both the biofuels industry and the growing demand for sustainably produced protein in the animal feed industry. The addition of new shareholder expertise with a focus on sustainability, the environment and global business experience, along with additional support from current shareholders highlights our opportunity and progress with the commercialization of Carinata.
News Article | April 24, 2017
« Global Bioenergies successfully scales up renewable isobutene process in Leuna Demo plant | Main | A3 by Airbus and AUVSI call for cooperation in developing industry standards for urban air mobility » Air Canada is participating in the Civil Aviation Alternate Fuel Contrail and Emissions Research project (CAAFCER), a research project led by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to test the environmental benefits of biofuel use on contrails. This project will use advanced sensing equipment mounted on a research aircraft operated by the NRC to measure the impact of biofuel blends on contrail formation by aircraft on five biofuel flights operated by Air Canada between Montreal and Toronto in the coming days, weather permitting. During these flights the National Research Council of Canada will trail the Air Canada aircraft with a modified T-33 research jet to sample and test the contrail biofuel emissions. The sustainable biofuel is produced by AltAir Fuels from used cooking oil and supplied by SkyNRG. A reduction in the thickness and coverage of contrails produced by the jet engines of aircraft could reduce aviation’s impact on the environment, an important beneficial effect of sustainable biofuel usage in aviation. This project involves six stakeholder organizations, with primary funding from the Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN), a non-profit organization funded by the business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence of the Government of Canada and the Canadian aerospace industry. The project has further financial support from the NRC and the enabling support of Air Canada ground and flight operations. In addition to Air Canada, other CAAFCER partners include (alphabetical order) Boeing, National Research Council Canada (NRC), SkyNRG, University of Alberta, and Waterfall. Since 2009, CAAFCER has built a portfolio of more than 30 R&D projects to reduce the environmental impact of a new generation of engines, structures and systems by the aerospace industry. To reduce its own emissions Air Canada has adopted a four-pillar strategy that includes: the use of new technology; improved operations; infrastructure changes; and the use of economic instruments. One example is Air Canada’s participation as an airline partner in Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI). It is a three-year collaborative project begun in 2015 with 14 stakeholder organizations to introduce 400,000 liters of sustainable aviation biofuel (biojet) into the shared fuel system at Montreal airport. The CBSCI project is a first in Canada and is aimed at creating a sustainable Canadian supply chain of biojet using renewable feedstocks. In 2012 Air Canada operated two biofuel flights one between Toronto and Mexico City as part of a series of commercial biofuel flights that took the secretary general of ICAO to the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro; the second flight transported a number of Olympic athletes and officials on their way to the London 2012 Olympic Games. In 2016 Air Canada continued taking delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Initial results show these aircraft are delivering approximately 20% improvement in efficiency over the aircraft they replaced. Air Canada plans to introduce 37 of these new aircraft in the coming years. In addition, later this year, it will be acquire up to 79 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft, expected to yield a 14% decrease in fuel use over the most current narrow-body aircraft. The aircraft investments represent a commitment of more than $11 billion at list prices. Air Canada has achieved a 40% improvement in average fuel efficiency between 1990 and 2016.
Yamada O.,Japanese National Research Institute of Brewing |
Machida M.,Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology |
Hosoyama A.,Tokyo Institute of Technology |
Goto M.,Saga University |
And 23 more authors.
DNA Research | Year: 2016
Awamori is a traditional distilled beverage made from steamed Thai-Indica rice in Okinawa, Japan. For brewing the liquor, two microbes, local kuro (black) koji mold Aspergillus luchuensis and awamori yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are involved. In contrast, that yeasts are used for ethanol fermentation throughout the world, a characteristic of Japanese fermentation industries is the use of Aspergillus molds as a source of enzymes for the maceration and saccharification of raw materials. Here we report the draft genome of a kuro (black) koji mold, A. luchuensis NBRC 4314 (RIB 2604). The total length of nonredundant sequences was nearly 34.7Mb, comprising approximately 2,300 contigs with 16 telomere-like sequences. In total, 11,691 genes were predicted to encode proteins. Most of the housekeeping genes, such as transcription factors and N-and O-glycosylation system, were conserved with respect to Aspergillus Niger and Aspergillus oryzae. An alternative oxidase and acid-stable a-amylase regarding citric acid production and fermentation at a low pH as well as a unique glutamic peptidase were also found in the genome. Furthermore, key biosynthetic gene clusters of ochratoxin A and fumonisin B were absent when compared with A. Niger genome, showing the safety of A. luchuensis for food and beverage production. This genome information will facilitate not only comparative genomics with industrial kuro-koji molds, but also molecular breeding of the molds in improvements of awamori fermentation. © 2016 The Author.
PubMed | Saga University, National Institute of Genetics, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tohoku University and 12 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: DNA research : an international journal for rapid publication of reports on genes and genomes | Year: 2016
Awamori is a traditional distilled beverage made from steamed Thai-Indica rice in Okinawa, Japan. For brewing the liquor, two microbes, local kuro (black) koji mold Aspergillus luchuensis and awamori yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are involved. In contrast, that yeasts are used for ethanol fermentation throughout the world, a characteristic of Japanese fermentation industries is the use of Aspergillus molds as a source of enzymes for the maceration and saccharification of raw materials. Here we report the draft genome of a kuro (black) koji mold, A. luchuensis NBRC 4314 (RIB 2604). The total length of nonredundant sequences was nearly 34.7 Mb, comprising approximately 2,300 contigs with 16 telomere-like sequences. In total, 11,691 genes were predicted to encode proteins. Most of the housekeeping genes, such as transcription factors and N-and O-glycosylation system, were conserved with respect to Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus oryzae An alternative oxidase and acid-stable -amylase regarding citric acid production and fermentation at a low pH as well as a unique glutamic peptidase were also found in the genome. Furthermore, key biosynthetic gene clusters of ochratoxin A and fumonisin B were absent when compared with A. niger genome, showing the safety of A. luchuensis for food and beverage production. This genome information will facilitate not only comparative genomics with industrial kuro-koji molds, but also molecular breeding of the molds in improvements of awamori fermentation.
Wongwarangkana C.,University of Tokyo |
Fujimori K.E.,Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology |
Akiba M.,University of Tokyo |
Kinoshita S.,University of Tokyo |
And 8 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2015
Background: microRNAs (miRNAs) in fish have not been as extensively studied as those in mammals. The fish species Takifugu rubripes is an intensively studied model organism whose genome has been sequenced. The T. rubripes genome is approximately eight times smaller than the human genome, but has a similar repertoire of protein-coding genes. Therefore, it is useful for identifying non-coding genes, including miRNA genes. To identify miRNA expression patterns in different organs of T. rubripes and give fundamental information to aid understanding of miRNA populations in this species, we extracted small RNAs from tissues and performed deep sequencing analysis to profile T. rubripes miRNAs. These data will be of assistance in functional studies of miRNAs in T. rubripes. Results: After analyzing a total of 139 million reads, we found miRNA species in nine tissues (fast and slow muscles, heart, eye, brain, intestine, liver, ovaries, and testes). We identified 1420 known miRNAs, many of which were strongly expressed in certain tissues with expression patterns similar to those described for other animals in previous reports. Most miRNAs were expressed in tissues other than the ovaries or testes. However, some miRNA families were highly abundant in the gonads, but expressed only at low levels in somatic tissue, suggesting specific function in germ cells. The most abundant isomiRs (miRNA variants) of many miRNAs had identical sequences in the 5' region. However, isomiRs of some miRNAs, including fru-miR-462-5p, varied in the 5' region in some tissues, suggesting that they may target different mRNA transcripts. Longer small RNAs (26-31 nt), which were abundant in the gonads, may be putative piRNAs because of their length and their origin from repetitive elements. Additionally, our data include possible novel classes of small RNAs. Conclusions: We elucidated miRNA expression patterns in various organs of T. rubripes. Most miRNA sequences are conserved in vertebrates, indicating that the basic functions of vertebrate miRNAs share a common evolution. Some miRNA species exhibit different distributions of isomiRs between tissues, suggesting that they have a broad range of functions. © 2015 Wongwarangkana et al.
Takagi H.,Nara Institute of Science and Technology |
Hashida K.,Nara Institute of Science and Technology |
Watanabe D.,Nara Institute of Science and Technology |
Nasuno R.,Nara Institute of Science and Technology |
And 4 more authors.
Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering | Year: 2015
Awamori shochu is a traditional distilled alcoholic beverage made from steamed rice in Okinawa, Japan. Although it has a unique aroma that is distinguishable from that of other types of shochu, no studies have been reported on the breeding of awamori yeasts. In yeast, isoamyl alcohol (i-AmOH), known as the key flavor of bread, is mainly produced from α-ketoisocaproate in the pathway of l-leucine biosynthesis, which is regulated by end-product inhibition of α-isopropylmalate synthase (IPMS). Here, we isolated mutants resistant to the l-leucine analog 5,5,5-trifluoro-dl-leucine (TFL) derived from diploid awamori yeast of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Some of the mutants accumulated a greater amount of intracellular l-leucine, and among them, one mutant overproduced i-AmOH in awamori brewing. This mutant carried an allele of the LEU4 gene encoding the Ser542Phe/Ala551Val variant IPMS, which is less sensitive to feedback inhibition by l-leucine. Interestingly, we found that either of the constituent mutations (LEU4S542F and LEU4A551V) resulted in the TFL tolerance of yeast cells and desensitization to l-leucine feedback inhibition of IPMS, leading to intracellular l-leucine accumulation. Homology modeling also suggested that l-leucine binding was drastically inhibited in the Ser542Phe, Ala551Val, and Ser542Phe/Ala551Val variants due to steric hindrance in the cavity of IPMS. As we expected, awamori yeast cells expressing LEU4S542F, LEU4A551V, and LEU4S542F/A551V showed a prominent increase in extracellular i-AmOH production, compared with that of cells carrying the vector only. The approach described here could be a practical method for the breeding of novel awamori yeasts to expand the diversity of awamori taste and flavor. © 2014 The Society for Biotechnology, Japan.
PubMed | Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyushu University and BioJet Co.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Genome announcements | Year: 2015
Here, we report the draft genome sequence of Lactobacillus gorillae strain KZ01(T) isolated from a western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). This genome sequence will be helpful for the comparative genomics between human and nonhuman primate-associated Lactobacillus.