Plantpower – University of Copenhagen

Plant Power: Light-driven synthesis of complex terpenoids using cytochrome P450s

Industrial biotechnology is essential for the welfare of an efficient, sustainable, knowledgebased economy. This project aims to generate a novel light-driven production system for high-value plant products for the pharmaceutical and other key sectors.

Photobioreactor set-up at NOVAgreen.

Bio-active terpenoids are complex plant compounds with a wide range of valuable properties – for instance as anti-cancer agents, and potentially as hormonal regulators or antibacterial agents against multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Unfortunately, terpenoids are extremely difficult or impossible to synthesise by chemical means, and only produced in plants in minute amounts. Our goal for this project is to produce high amounts of valuable terpenoids. Therefore we will transfer enzymatic pathways for specific terpenoids from higher plants to

cyanobacteria and moss, and these pathways will be optimised by re-targeting them to the chloroplasts and directly coupling them to the photosynthetic system – leading to light-driven production. Read more about the project.

Project leader:

Prof. Poul Erik Jensen, University of Copenhagen


This project is funded with 20.6 mill DKK (12-131834) by Innovation Fund Denmark (previously the Danish Council for Strategic Research) from 2013-2018