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Process Simulation and Techno-Economic Analysis of Large-Scale Bioproduction of Sweet Protein Thaumatin II.


There are currently worldwide efforts to reduce sugar intake due to the various adverse health effects linked with the overconsumption of sugars. Artificial sweeteners have been used as an alternative to nutritive sugars in numerous applications; however, their long-term effects on human health remain controversial. This led to a shift in consumer preference towards non-caloric sweeteners from natural sources. Thaumatins are a class of intensely sweet proteins found in arils of the fruits of the West-African plant Thaumatococcus daniellii. Thaumatins' current production method through aqueous extraction from this plant and uncertainty of the harvest from tropical rainforests limits its supply while the demand is increasing. Despite successful recombinant expression of the protein in several organisms, no large-scale bioproduction facilities exist. We present preliminary process design, process simulation, and economic analysis for a large-scale (50 metric tons/year) production of a thaumatin II variant using several different molecular farming platforms.

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