Method to double anthocyanins in biofactories
The present invention provides a method based on gene editing allowing to increase the content of anthocyanin pigments in potato cells by eliminating the activity (knock out) of a specific gene. Through this method, it has been possible to obtain cell lines that produce as twice the anthocyanin content as produced by the wild type cells.
Cell cultures are undifferentiated plant cells that allow in-continuous production of high-value metabolites such as anthocyanins, which are natural pigments with antioxidant activity. The limitation of this application is that, over time, there is a blockage of the production of these pigments at the cellular level. By using gene editing based on the CRISPR/Cas9 technique, in the present invention there is a de-functionalization of a gene coding for a molecular repressor of anthocyanin production in potato cells. Because the method is based on new “gene editing” technology, several countries may have access to completely exogenous DNA-free and GMO-free lines. The method can be extended to different potato varieties that produce different types of highly acylated anthocyanins, thus obtaining biofactories of pigments with different hues and shades, with health-promoting bioactivity.
- Development of new potato cell line over-accumulating different anthocyanins;
- Regeneration of novel potato varieties biofortified in anthocyanins;
- Development of parental lines to be used in potato breeding;
- Use of anthocyanins as natural colorants for industry/preservatives/antioxidants/ food supplements (superfood).
- Efficient large-scale production of natural pigments;
- Stable and in-continuous production;
- Wide range tailor-made production of anthocyanin pigments with different coloration;
- Reduced soil consumption and carbon footprint;
- Reduction of production costs.