PTT Chemical Public Company Limited (Thailand) and the Landau Family Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory (MBL) of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have recently signed a research and development collaboration agreement for the production of dihomo gamma - linolenic acid (DGLA - Omega 6) using BGU’s proprietary mutant strain of the green microalgae Parietochloris incise.
The market potential of DGLA is estimated at $300 million by 2015.The agreement with PTT Chemical was signed by BGN Technology, the technology transfer company of BGU.
The BGU mutant accumulates up to 12-15% (of dry wt.) DGLA in cytoplasmic oil bodies and to date is the only plant source capable of producing appreciable amounts of DGLA. Its ability to deposit DGLA in triacylglycerols makes this organism a very promising source for pharmaceutical purposes. DGLA is a precursor for the anti-inflammatory prostaglandin E1 and its use could aid in the treatment of chronic inflammations, such as atopic eczema, psoriasis, asthma and arthritis, as well as in reduction of blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk for heart attacks.
The joint research will focus on optimizing DGLA production through advanced algae cultivation methods and large-scale processing in a commercially viable setting. The parties regard this cooperation as a first step in a long lasting collaboration towards developing additional valuable bio-chemicals from microalgae as well as using these microorganisms as potential feed stocks for biofuels.