Bluegene Technologies Ltd

success story


Improvement of microbiological fermentation process for manufacture of bio indigo dyes

About the company and the project impact

BlueGene Technologies Ltd is a biotechnology start-up based in London, United Kingdom. The company’s speciality is developing unique microbial strains and technologies for bio-conversions of low-cost starting compounds to high-value chemicals and the production of novel chiral precursors for use in organic syntheses.

The company has developed a range of bio-produced dyes that represent sustainable, green, and much needed alternatives for the textile and cosmetics industries. Industrial-scale production requires early-stage support for fermentation efficiency, scale-up studies and product testing. The company needed experts’ collaboration to support the company’s initial fermentation and scale-up of production of the latest dye. Within the KET4CleanProduction project, the company aimed to achieve pilot-scale production of bio indigo dye by microbial fermentation (i.e., at 50 L scale) by transferring and optimising methodology developed by the SME and producing up to 5g of product for further testing by the SME.

KET Technology Industrial Biotechnology

KET Technology Centers involved

  • Biorenewables Development Centre | United Kingdom

  • RISE | Sweden


The KET4CP project examined optimisation of the bioconversion methodology for the production of indigo 6,6’-dicarboxylic acid using a strain of Pseudomonas putida.

The process required sequential optimisation by upscaling the bio indigo production from 0.5L to 5L and 50L bioreactors. The initial methodology provided by the SME was tested at a 0.5L scale using various concentrations of substrate, glucose and aeration. The methodology was then successfully used to upscale the fermentation process from 0.5L to 5L bioreactor, which led to greater efficiency and purity of bioconversion product. The further scale-up to 50L further increased the production efficacy leading to 13.5g of bio indigo. The overall process also benefited from developing a chromatography-based method to monitor the conversion of a substrate to bio indigo and a purification technique for cleaning up the bio indigo. Overall, the results showed an increased conversion rate of 63%.

The studies funded by the KET4CP will bring our product closer to commercialisation and inform the design of a pilot-scale production process. The scale-up and supply of these materials to our industry partners and other stakeholders is essential for gaining industrial validation and becoming part of their supply chains.

Dr Stan Theophilou, Director of BlueGene Technologies

Key success factors

Good communication between all partners throughout the project was maintained via email, as well as regular Zoom calls for the interim results to be discussed and presented. Due to that, the successful exchange of information (including existing protocols, previous reports) and materials between the SME and TCs was achieved.

Furthermore, professional management of project aims and objectives ensured that work packages are delivered within the agreed timescale and resources and with a high degree of professionalism and expertise of the Technology centre partners.