Dihydrochalcones are a class of molecules, which are naturally found in plants. The most prominent dihydrochalcone is phlorizin, apples contain it to high amounts
Phlorizin was found to have antidiabetic activity by inhibiting sugar absorption in the gut and sugar reabsorption in the kidney. Other examples of interesting dihydrochalcones are include aspalathin and nothofagin found in rooibos, which are antioxidants with a high bioavailability, trilobatin, which is a sweetness enhancer found in sweet tea, or naringin dihydrochalcone and neohesperidin dihydrochalcone, which are sweeteners that are chemically derived from lemon compounds.
In a recent publication in the journal Metabolic Engineering, Evolva has demonstrated the biosynthesis of several dihydrochalcones of interest (phloretin, phlorizin, nothofagin, trilobatin, naringin dihydrochalcone) in yeast. This marks the first time, these compounds are produced by a microorganism from simple sugars. Production of these compounds required the coordinated expression of six to nine genes from different plants in addition to the yeasts own genes. This includes also two enzymatic activities, which have never been shown before.
This study opens up the field of industrial biotechnology to this highly interesting class of compounds.
Read the full article by Michael Eichenberger, Beata Joanna Lehka, Christophe Folly, David Fischer, Stefan Martens,Ernesto Simón, Michael Naesby