Growing chemicals out of moss – University of Copenhagen

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16 April 2015

Growing chemicals out of moss

Valuable chemicals

Valuable medical, antibacterial and flavour compounds being produced from moss. Former students of the University of Copenhagen behind the company Tycho Bio. Associate Professor Björn Hamberger from Plant Power is a co-inventor of the moss platform and also functions as the company's scientific advisor.

PHOTO: Josephine Schrøder and Brian King of TychoBio examining a moss sample in the bio-reactor lab, basement of the science campus. Photo: David Valentin Schweiger

From old-school alchemy to modern science, the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) spin-out TychoBio is using synthetic biology to create compounds more valuable than gold, merely from the water and sunlight that goes into moss.

A large number of companies can produce high-value compounds from petroleum. But this is not sustainable because it generates large quantities of waste or requires intensive harvesting of plants. TychoBio seems to have found a cheap, sustainable alternative to the problem. Their idea consists of producing high-value compounds in moss.

''This means we can produce essential medical, antibacterial and flavour or fragrance compounds in otherwise resource limited settings, such as space. Normally these compounds are either produced from endangered plants or synthesized from oil,'' explains Will Wright from TychoBio to the University Post. Read the full story here.