Environmentally Friendly Luciferase-based Illumination Technology

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-05-C-5402
Agency Tracking Number: F041-145-2291
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: AF04-145
Solicitation Number: 2004.1
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 80010, Austin, TX, 78708
DUNS: 022552900
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Kathy Wojtas
 Staff Scientist
 (607) 272-0002
Business Contact
 Noe Salazar
Title: President
Phone: (512) 671-1369
Email: nsalazar@agavebio.com
Research Institution
Current technologies for marking of landing zones as well as areas for search and rescue have significant drawbacks ranging from the additional weight of batteries for some systems to plastic and metallic debris left behind. There are clear advantages both operationally and environmentally to utilizing bioluminescent materials that can be lighter and do not leave behind non-biodegradable debris. In Phase I, Agave BioSystems successfully demonstrated the use of bioluminescent technology in biodegradable packaging as a stable, easy to use and effective illumination system to replace current chemical and electrical systems. To accomplish this, we genetically engineered the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce luciferase, an enzyme produced by fireflies which when combined with luciferin generates the well know light emission. In addition to successfully completing the originally proposed work, we expanded our genetic engineering for expression in two other organisms, the bacterium E. coli and the yeast Pichia Pastoris. Furthermore, we were able to express not only the firefly luciferin (yellow-green) but also a blue and red emitting luciferin as well. Having demonstrated the versatility and effectiveness of this technology, we are now ready to develop important applications in Phase II.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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