Singapore National Biofilm Consortium

SNBC is fostering collaborative research and translational projects involving academics from different IHLs, local agencies and industry partners. The consortium deals with way to harness and control microbial biofilms and microbiomes, and delivers innovations relevant to a broad scope of important applications, from public health, to water treatment, to industrial practices. Members can have access to SNBC academics' research expertise and network, participate in training and workshops, and are eligible for seed funding for technology development and applications.

Our Technology Offers

Probiotic Dairy-Free Beverage with Bioactive Properties

A non-dairy fermented beverage is now able to have enhanced levels of probiotics and bioactives.

This fermentation process releases the bioactives from the plant material which is used as the base and elevates the levels of the probiotic bacteria and health promoting end products. The technology includes optimizing the beverage production for a particular probiotic. This probiotic has proven health benefits and has been shown to exhibit enhanced survival in the fermented beverage.

With this fermentation process, the non-dairy beverage will be able to deliver high levels of efficacious probiotic together health promoting bioactive compounds. This will be suitable for people who are seeking to have a healthy gut microbiome and over good health.

Looking for: joint venture partners for commercial formulation co-development and expanded technology scope.

Novel Analytical Pipelines for Gut Health Assessment

Inside our intestines live trillions of microorganisms, which are collectively known as the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in our health in a variety of physiological functions, including controlling digestion and benefiting our immune system.

The technology comprises a proprietary analysis pipeline for analysing bacterial interactions in the gut. Using a gut microbiome sequencing database collected from individuals across age, gender, ethnicity and health status, the technology can provide individualised dietary advice and recommendations. The technology has gained immense interest amongst clinicians for its potential to develop more algorithms to enable personalized treatment for patients with conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic diseases, and cancer.

With its in-house, Asia-centric microbiome data library, the technology provider is looking for technology enablers with expertise in machine learning to develop proprietary analysis pipelines for specific disease conditions.

Soil & Water Bioaugmentation in the Tropics

Conventional soil remediation methods, such as thermal desorption involve physical or chemical reactions to alter the physical properties of the soil for control of contaminant. These methods are costly and require the disposal of the resource, taking up space in landfills.

This technology relates to a microbial formulation that has proven efficacy to treat petroleum polluted soil in the tropics. The bioaugmentation technology developed involves the addition of chemical-degrading microorganisms to the contaminated sites (e.g., oil spills) to remove the pollutant, allowing repurpose of the land, soil, and water. The process is environmentally friendly, highly portable and does not require deployment of large machinery on-site. The soil after treatment is compliant to the current United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) and Australian standards (below 1,000 ppm Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH)) with proven efficacy to work in tropical climates.

The technology provider is looking for collaboration for large-scale testing and deployment, or partners to test the feasibility of the treated soil for farming purposes and develop formulation for soil rehabilitation for farming and food production.

Electrochemical Detection of Microorganisms

Microbial detection is the key in public health protection. Faecal indicator bacteria (FIB) such as E. coli and Bacillus spp. are used as indicators of water quality as a proxy for pathogenic faecal contamination of water, along with risk assessment techniques that correlate the frequency of a specific health hazard with a given level of FIB exposure. Chromogenic and fluorogenic enzymatic techniques are mainstays of water quality monitoring for both public health agencies and regulated utilities. However, together with traditional culture techniques, enzymatic enumeration of FIB is favoured for evaluating microbial water quality under most regulated jurisdictions.

This technology utilises bioelectroanalytical approaches to FIB enumeration as it is a near universal property of microbes to indirectly reduce an electrode via soluble redox mediators.

This bioelectrochemical sensor detects E. coli in the range 5.0 x 102 to 5.0 x 105 CFU/mL and provides a 22–54% faster detection than commercially available FIB detectors to detect, quantify, and track contamination of water to ensure water quality meets sanitary guidelines.

The technology provider is looking for licensing partners to commercialise this technology.

Deep Sea Simulation High Pressure Reactor

The depth of the oceans has always fascinated researchers over the years. The discovery of organisms that has adapted to perfect and permanent darkness, high pressure, and other unusual conditions has raised enormous interest. However, there is a lack of specialised instrumentation and equipment to simulate and study how biological materials behaves in a deep-sea environment is capable of withstanding high hydrostatic pressure up to 70 MPa (pressure experienced at 7,000m depth). In addition, it is equipped with a continuous chemostat to maintain biological cultures, a system for monitoring and logging of electrochemical data within the chamber real-time and in-situ with a sampling port.

This system is also capable of continuous logging of electrochemical data without the needing to disturb the system, maintaining a high pressure and anaerobic environment isolated from external disturbances even during sample collection procedures. This new instrument has been designed and developed to allow for the study of deep sea microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) in the laboratory as an example, but applicable to other live samples.

The technology provider is currently looking for licensing partners to commercialise this product.

Encapsulation For Targeted Release Of Probiotics In Gut

Conventional probiotics often loses its viability as it passes through the upper gastrointestinal tract. This encapsulation technology can improve the shelf life of probiotics and maintain viability during their passage through the human upper gastrointestinal tract.

This patented technology of encapsulating probiotics involves a modified spray-drying process which is a high-throughput, food-grade, and inexpensive. This is applicable to both pharmaceutical and cost-sensitive industrial sectors, for example animal feed production. The encapsulated probiotic product achieves qualities of gastroprotection and targeted release in the intestinal region, overall boosting the beneficial effects of probiotics on gut health.

This technology is suitable for companies looking for an improved probiotics delivery system to increase the viability of probiotics as dietary supplements and functional food products for both human and animal health.

Sustainable Insect Protein Solutions

Nutrition Technologies uses Black Soldier Fly larvae (BSFL) to convert organic waste by products into protein, oil and frass. The protein and oil are used as high value animal feed ingredients and frass (insect manure) is a novel soil amendment. In order to optimize insect production system, the company use biotechnology tools to leverage on the BSFL’s natural close relationship with microorganisms. This approach includes fermentation of the feedstock fed to the larvae along with the use of companion bacteria. The larvae are raised in a vertical farming system then harvested to separate larvae from frass. The larvae are then dried and pressed to separate the oil from the protein fractions. A fraction of the total larvae are maintained as broodstock and allowed to become adult flies and mate in carefully controlled conditions. This system integrates microbiology, industrial fermentation, entomology and engineering to rethink decomposition as a powerful force for good.

Antimicrobials Targeting Biofilms

Biofilms are three-dimensional microbial growth forms comprising of bacterial cells and the extracellular matrix they produce. They are ubiquitous in nature, forming on any surface or at any interface where water or suitable fluid is available. A biofilm exhibits substantially increased resistance to antibiotics compared to planktonic cells and resistance to phagocytosis, thus rendering biofilms very difficult to eradicate. Current biofilm control strategies typically target the early stages of biofilm development and involve the use of toxic antimicrobial agents.

The technology is based on nitric oxide and its ability to disperse biofilms and works synergistically with other antimicrobials. The chemical formulation developed encompasses multiple functionalities that are combined into a single compound that is only active in the presence of the bacterial biofilm. The formulation is non-toxic with good bioavailability and is active in vivo. It can disrupt and disperse the biofilm, making it more efficient to directly kill the dispersed cells of bacteria sensitive to antibiotics.

As biofilms are responsible for a range of hospital acquired infections and cause significant damage in industrial systems (e.g. water distribution and treatment systems, pulp and paper manufacturing systems, heat exchange system and cooling towers), this technology provides a good solution to resolve the issues associated with biofilms.

Food 3D Printing for Personalized Nutrition

Multi-material food 3D printing with controlled amounts of each ingredient to create personalized food according to the needs of each individual. The meals and snacks can be personalized based on nutritional needs as well as gut microbiome requirements.

Less personalized (only based on simple questionnaire) 3D printed food can be packaged and sold to the public in collaboration with local food and supplement manufacturers selling packaged meals. Highly personalized (full medical workup) 3D printed food is to be used by hospitals and care facilities to optimize the health of patients reducing the risk of medical complications and overall cost of care.