CREATING THE FIRST FULL BIOSYNTHETIC CROCIN PATHWAY IN YEAST
Crocin is a carotenoid compound found in Crocus sativus also known as Saffron - the most expensive spice in the world. It has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, neuroprotective, as well as antiproliferative properties in cancer cells. Saffron requires specific climate conditions to grow and thrive. Additionally, the yield of crocin via extraction from saffron is rather low and the process is costly and labor consuming. To overcome these issues, we have decided to build upon previous iGEM projects and focus on engineering the full crocin biosynthesis pathway in the unconventional yeast Rhodotorula toruloides.