Key to resilient plants, animals and people

Microbial COS-production

A tailor-made solution to decrease antibiotic use in animals and humans

The next pandemic is already upon us: antimicrobial resistance. A severe threat for both humans and animals. In detail, more than 70% of all antibiotics produced worldwide are added to animal feed. So how do we assure healthy and resilient  animals without using antibiotics, to sustainably feed 10 billion people in 2050?

The Science

Many of the biological activities ascribed to chitooligosaccharides (COS) hinge on highly specific effector-receptor interactions.  In particular, the effect of COS-molecules for animal health is extensively discussed in literature, illustrating general COS structure-function guidelines for animal health: administration of low molecular weight COS-molecules can result in a synergistic effect of both improved growth performance, e.g. egg and/or milk quality, as maintained colonic microbiota balance. For plant health, new value will be created by using the biotech-produced specific COS-molecules as plant biostimulants. COS-molecules stimulate seed germination and promote seedling development. Besides, they are known to modulate the plant’s immune response which is a cleaner and healthier alternative to current plant fertilizer techniques.

A platform for the biotechnological production of structurally defined COS is developed, reaching important milestones in the route towards valorization: 

(1) In vivo production of specific COS-molecules with a degree of polymerization (DP) of 4 to 7 and varying degree of acetylation (DA) and pattern of acetylation (PA). 

(2) Large-scale (upscaling) production runs at 150 L reactor scale, was produced with a titer of 15 g/L. 

(3) Multiple patent applications

The benefits


With our biotech platform, it is possible to provide a reliable and continuous supply of COS-product and this in large amounts.


When COS-product is supplied as feed additive, the farmer can focus on prevention over curing infected animals. This will significantly reduce costs associated with antibiotic use

Local and sustainable production

Our engineered cells contribute to a circular bio-economy by feeding them different waste streams, such as insect or mushroom waste

What's next?

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