In order to develop a strain that can produce violacein and its derivatives, a naturally occurring bis-indole pigment with potent bioactive properties including anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, Octarine Bio, a synthetic biology company developing new sustainable bio-based ingredients, and Ginkgo Bioworks, developing a platform for cell programming and biosecurity, today announced a multi-stage partnership focused on substances in the tryptophan pathway. Despite being initially concentrated on violacein, the partnership may eventually include other tryptophan-derived substances, each with its own special applications.

Despite having been linked to detrimental impacts on both human health and the environment, the vast majority of textiles are still produced using synthetic colours and dyes made from fossil fuels. United National Environmental has reported thatProgramme and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the dyeing and processing of textiles results in the production of 20% of the global wastewater. According to the European Environment Agency, the consumption of textiles has a fourth-highest influence on the environment and climate change in Europe, a third-highest impact on water and land use, and a fifth-highest impact on the use of raw materials and greenhouse gas emissions.

The production of safer and more inventive colours and dyes created through microbial fermentation is made possible by synthetic biology, which presents a strong challenge to this practise. A crucial component of Octarine’s technology is its outstanding skill in enzymatic derivatization, which can permit increased production volumes and superior attributes of these colours. A huge opportunity is created when the strain engineering knowledge of Ginkgo Bioworks is combined. for Octarine to release fresh bioactive pigments that respond to consumer demands for healthier, safer, and more environmentally friendly options.

According to Ena Cratsenburg, Chief Business Officer of Ginkgo Bioworks, “Natural colours and dyes constitute a significant and expanding market, especially given the heightened awareness from companies and the concerns of consumers about the harmful effects of conventional manufacturing processes.” “We are thrilled to be working with Octarine as we aim to produce a new class of safer, high-performing colours and dyes that will appeal to consumers and companies worldwide. This is a robust opportunity to contribute to the sustainability of the fashion industry.””We are excited to collaborate with Ginkgo to enhance our tryptophan program’s bio-based production method, concentrating on a group of in-demand natural dyes and colours in hard-to-find colour spectra,” said Dr. Nethaji Gallage, co-founder and CEO of Octarine. We are excited to use the Ginkgo platform to hasten the development of bio-based dyes, one of the fastest-growing categories in the global textile market, by applying these natural pigments.