The Innovation

Afingen is developing synthetic biology methods that enable host eukaryotic organisms to improve the yield and composition of commercially attractive products. From a suite of synthetic biology methods, Afingen has been licensing a patented technology (Artificial Positive Feedback Loop or “APFL”) from the University of  California. The APFL technology, which also won a widely recognized “Oscars of Innovation” - R&D 100 award (2014), offers a robust path to produce high-value biochemicals from inedible biomass-derived substrates with minimal cis-genetic manipulation and improved genetic stability compared to conventional bio-engineering. Since only plant DNA will be used, the transgenic plants will be effectively “cis-genic”. By amplifying and/or reducing target compounds with unprecedented specificity and improved tolerance, engineered food-, feed-, and biofuel-crops (e.g. switchgrass, sugarcane, wheat, corn, sorghum, canola, camelina, soybean, alfalfa, tomato, and potato) may offer higher yields of biomass and enhance degradation in the inedible biomass to facilitate nutrient recycling. The increased degradability in feedstocks biomass would also provide more available nutrient substrates to enable a productive microbes fermentation process that produces higher volumes of currently scarce or difficult-to-extract compounds at a lower production cost. AFINGEN, Inc. has been generating significantly improved crops with a combination of three beneficial traits: [1] accelerated root growth [2] increased grains and vegetative biomass yields, and [3] enhanced degradability of inedible biomass. Enabled by our biotechnology platform, these traits will contribute to U.S. agricultural production, self-sustainability, the economy, food security, and bioenergy.

 

 

Example of AFINGEN’s APFL technology originally applied in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The pictures show the APFL technology’s effect on plant fiber cell walls. The left image shows cell wall thickness (red bar) of unmodified wild plants. The right image shows thicker cell walls of APFL-modified plants filling the normal void within interfascicular fiber cells (labeled “If”).

 

 

 

To discuss the potential for collaborating with AFINGEN to grow your agribusiness, 

please contact us today. 

Fast Growth and More Biomass

Afingen's Enabled Trait No. 1

Afingen’s transgenic switchgrass plants regrow nearly twice as fast as the control during the regeneration process. Plants harboring Afingen’s strategies show a roughly 200% increase in average height and two to six times more tillers than the control plants. These amplified stem and leaves biomass yields are comparable to enhancing carbon dioxide capture in their photosynthesis.

 

 

Better Seed Yield

Afingen's Enabled Trait No. 2

The switchgrass seeds were also harvested after being grown in a short season in a greenhouse environment, and showed a roughly 100-200% increase in yields in comparison to the control.

 

 

 

Better Root Development

Afingen's Enabled Trait No. 3

The enhanced root growths, which can facilitate cultivation in environments, were also observed in the engineered lines in a laboratory environment.

 

 

Better Process-ability 

Afingen's Enabled Trait No. 4

Reducing lignin content via genetic engineering or mutation has been a goal that can dramatically increase [1] the biomass quality for animal feeds, [2] the deconstruction rate after thermochemical-pretreatment for biorefinery fermentation, and [3] the bio-degradability by microbe to provide soil organic matters. Afingen generated healthy switchgrass plants that grew with more available saccharides (20% to 30% higher) and soluble aromatics (80-120% higher) releases, corresponding to 25% less lignin (but reduced only in selected internal fiber structures so that stalks and stems remain strong).

 

 

To discuss the potential for collaborating with AFINGEN to grow your agribusiness, 

please contact us today. 

The Sustainable Agricultural System

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Afingen has been demonstrated that a simple new biotechnology platform, robust plants to achieve rapid growth, a high yield of biomass, enhanced root growth, and reduced lignin in their cell walls.

We are currently transferring the simple tissue-targeting overexpression technology from switchgrass to other commercially competitive dicot and monocot crops to offer three beneficial agricultural traits - faster root growth, more grains/biomass, and improved degradability for efficient nutrient recycling.  

These traits could help U.S. farmers more than double their revenues.