From Bioblast
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The revolutionary all-in-one instrument to conquer mitochondrial disease

NextGen-O2k coverpage 2.png

The NextGen-O2k project

What is bioenergetics and why is it important

Respiration and photosynthesis.png
Bioenergetics is the study of energy transformations in bacteria and eukaryotic cells, within mitochondria and chloroplasts. In eukaryotic animal, plant, and microbial cells, mitochondrial respiration consumes oxygen in the process of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to transform the chemical energy of the organic matter into the chemical energy that fuels cellular activity (i.e. ATP). In addition, in algal and higher plant cells solar energy is acquired and assimilated by the chloroplasts through photosynthesis (PS) to synthesize the organic matter required for cellular growth.
Bioenergetics is the new highway to medical discoveries because mitochondrial dysfunction is linked to many human diseases, such as cancer, sepsis, metabolic disorders or neurodegenerative disorders, largely related to aging. The literature describing relationships between mitochondrial dysfunction and pathological states is growing exponentially, highlighting the importance of mitochondrial fitness in future diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
Algal biomass production relies upon optimal bioenergetics: Algae are key organisms in biotechnology for the development of the bio-economy. Mitochondria and chloroplasts control their energy metabolism, implicated in the optimization of growth rates and metabolite production. The algal biotech sector (including cyanobacteria, micro- and macroalgae), therefore, needs a more integrated understanding of mitochondrial and chloroplast bioenergetics.

Building the highway to medical discoveries
Mitochondrial research experiences a renaissance driven by its key role in pathological states. It is now established that mitochondria play a major role in cellular homeostasis and their dysfunction is key towards disease onset and progression. The figure below shows a variety of diseases where mitochondrial dysfunction has been detected and highlights its central role regulating cellular health and disease. To develop diagnostic and therapeutic strategies based on mitochondria, researchers need to understand mitochondrial function, morphology and dynamics, and its connections with key cellular pathways.

Mitochondrial dysfunction implicated in multiple diseases.png

Algal Biomass production optimization by application of algal bioenergetics
  • The use of algae (comprising cyanobacteria, microalgae, and macroalgae) for biotechnology has bloomed in the last decades, being used in multiple and highly relevant biotech fields.
  • Algae-based food, animal feed, bioenergy, cosmetics, nutraceuticals and materials are considered by the EU as key for the development of a sustainable economy or bio-economy and circular economy due to multiple distinguishing features: (1) fast growth rate, (2) high biomass yields, (3) low land requirement for growth, (4) no competition for drinking water since algae can grow in seawater, and (5) contribution to the recycling of waste and mitigation of Climate Change (algae can grow using efflux gas from industry and wastewater).
  • Wide adoption of algae for biotechnological applications is hindered due the poor understanding of algal metabolic pathways and function. The field faces the challenge of producing enough biomass for mass-market adoption and optimizing growing conditions of wild-type or transgenic strains to produce sufficient amounts of specific compounds of interest.

The NextGen-O2k solves the existing problems


  • Bioenergetics are poorly understood because current technologies to study bioenergetics are limited. Several methods are currently available to measure mitochondrial/chloroplast function, such as polarography, fluorimetry, imaging and spectroscopy. However, these instruments are limited to measuring just one or a few physiological parameters and do not give an in-depth view of mitochondrial and chloroplast fitness. To study the mitochondrial/chloroplast metabolic profiles in-depth, researchers need to use several measuring instruments in parallel, which results in: (1) high expenses, (2) time consuming experiments, (3) preparation of different samples and unavoidably, introduction of systematic errors due to the complexity of the procedures, (4) Waste of sample and not satisfying the 3Rs objective (i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle), (5) Lack of accuracy, (6) low sensitivity and (7) poor resolution with low limits of detection, (8) low cost-effectiveness due to fragile equipment with high running costs.

Solutions with NextGen-O2k - the integrative bioenergetic snapshot of the cell

The NextGen-O2k is an all in one device with diverse sensors included in the same instrument. This saves on experimental time and costs, samples, equipment and laboratory space, and minimizes experimental errors.
The NextGen-O2k combines High-Resolution FluoRespirometry with 2 new key modules to obtain a detailed bioenergetics profile and broaden the applications of the instruments.
  • (+1) The new Q-Module for detecting the quinone redox state. Ubiquinone, or coenzyme Q or CoQ, and plastoquinone are essential mobile components of mitochondria and chloroplasts, respectively, that transfers electrons between respiratory and photosynthetic complexes of the electron transfer system (ETS). In collaboration with Prof. Anthony Moore (University of Sussex, UK), who described the use of a Q-redox sensor for mitochondrial characterization , we have developed a Q-Module for integrated analysis of the redox levels of the quinone pools (ubiquinone and plastoquinone). The level of reduction of the Q-pool is a function of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) state in mitochondria. Therefore, OXPHOS deficiencies can be readily detected by measuring the deviation of the Q-pool with respect to normal respiratory and photosynthetic function. NextGen-O2k combines our O2k HRR technology and the Q-Module for simultaneous detection of oxygen consumption/production and Q-redox state. The measurement of the Q-redox state is perfectly suited to detect mitochondrial dysfunction in pathological states and our opportunity to develop the first mitochondrial ‘all-in-one’ diagnostic device. The Q-redox state also plays a key role in photosynthesis, but continuous measurement in intact cells or chloroplast preparations has not been possible until now. The Q-Module will allow for the first time the continuous measurement of the redox state of the plastoquinone pool of chloroplasts simultaneously with oxygen production, therefore providing a better and more complete understanding of the algal bioenergetic control pathway. Q-Module to measure Q-redox state. NetGen-O2k is the only instrument that includes the Q-sensor to obtain information about the Q-redox state in both mitochondria and chloroplasts, which correlates with overall OXPHOS function.
  • (+2) A PB-Module for measuring photosynthesis in algae and higher plants. We will include LED lights of specific wavelengths (i.e. actinic light) to stimulate the photosynthesis process. We will then measure O2 production due to the photosynthetic process, opening the application of the O2k technology to the fields of algal biotechnology and in the longer term to the research in higher plants cells. DatLab, unique and versatile software for easy and optimal use of our devices. An upgraded version DatLab pro of our current proprietary DatLab software will accompany the NextGen-O2k, designed for easy and accurate data acquisition and analysis. DatLab pro will be more user-friendly, including several optimizations, built-in protocols to facilitate data acquisition and analysis, and graphical tools. Datlab pro makes NextGen-O2k experiments easy and it is a unique asset of all Oroboros technologies.
The NextGen-O2k will allow researchers to measure key parameters of cellular bioenergetics with just one instrument, obtaining a comprehensive bioenergetic snapshot of mitochondrial/chloroplast fitness.

NextGen-O2k modules.jpg

  • PB-Module to measure photosynthesis. NextGen-O2k will add LEDs of specific wavelengths and controlled light intensity to stimulate photosynthesis.
  • Highest oxygen sensitivity in the market. Our improved oxygen sensors detect as little as 5 nM oxygen concentration, versus 1-20 μM of competitors.
  • Widest oxygen range resolution. NextGen-O2k detects oxygen in the linear range of 0-1,000 μM. The best cost-effectiveness in the market. NextGen-O2k saves money to researchers because (1) it includes several sensors, (2) it has low running costs, and (3) it has a long lifespan of >10 years.
  • Versatility regarding samples and conditions. NextGen-O2k allows measurement on isolated mitochondria or chloroplasts, cells and tissues. Its semi-automatic mode allows control over unlimited number of titrations, experimental conditions and chemicals added to the chambers.
  • The biggest worldwide O2k-Network. Oroboros has built an open-access website with ample resources about bioenergetics research and a network of >600 mitochondrial reference labs.
  • Training workshops, customer service, and quality control (QC). We design our O2ks and optimize the experimental conditions, protocols and maintenance in-house. To translate this knowledge to our customers, we organize a variety of training workshops and offer personalized customer service. The MitoFit training and proficiency test is introduced as an innovation in QC. Our vision is to build a dynamic network and advance towards scientific discoveries rather than merely selling equipment.

Oroboros and NextGen

A unique development strategy
  • Since our beginnings, Oroboros had a clear priority in mind: help scientists, make good science and push towards new revolutionary discoveries. For that, we have relied on a unique approach that has proven successful, with 1,100 instruments sold worldwide. The Top 10 reasons for Oroboros (Figure 7) show our value proposition and approach differentiation from competitors:
  • Always deliver the highest quality standards: NextGen-O2k will combine sensors in one device to accelerate experiments and provide multi-data, but at the same time it will hold the highest oxygen resolution and sensitivity. We answer scientists’ demands who value high-quality data.
  • Open-access strategy: Our website is a reference for mitochondrial research. We strictly follow an Open-Access policy, making available procedures, workshops & publications. We have built a worldwide network of users, fostering Open Innovation and communication among scientists.
  • Continuous innovation, development and optimization. Since we launched the first O2k, we have worked hard to improve our products and meet the researchers’ needs. NextGen-O2k is the culmination of >25 years of development, innovation and continuous conversations with customers.

Top 10 reasons for Oroboros.jpg
The vision
  • Be the scientific driving force in mitochondrial physiology
  • Equip each biomedical lab world-wide with the NextGen instruments for research and diagnostic screening
  • Support key developments in mitochondrial medicine
  • Expand the business to biotechnology and ecology
The mission
Enterprise and science
  • Cooperation and feedback in science
  • World-wide scientific network and collaborations
  • Open-access resources and expert user support
Corporate social responsibility
  • QC to solve the reproducibility crisis with the O2k
  • Mitochondrial fitness and benefits for health system
  • Train our future inventors and start-ups
  • New challenge: advance the bio-economy

Why now?
We are confident this is the right moment for NextGen-O2k because: (1) there is a renaissance on mitochondrial research, driven by its central role in cell homeostasis and pathological states; (2) there is an interest to understand the molecular mechanism of diseases and to develop specifically-tailored diagnostic and therapeutic tools; (3) there is a need to better understand the key role of mitochondria and chloroplasts bioenergetics in the algal growth and metabolite production; (4) after the booming in genomics and proteomics data, we need new tools to understand the functionality of proteins and organelles within the cell, including algae; and (5) Oroboros >25 years expertise and recognition position us at the perfect place to launch NextGen-O2k, move one-step closer towards medical device applications, and expand to the algal biotech market.
The NextGen-O2k falls under the umbrella of the Life Science Instrumentation market, which was valued at $ 51.2 billion worldwide in 2016, and is predicted to reach $ 75.2 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 6.7% (2017-2022), thanks to the growth in key sectors like healthcare, wellbeing and biotechnology.
In the mitochondrial research market we are observing a boom in the number of scientific publications related to mitochondria and diseases and the global algae products market is expected to reach $3.45 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.2% (2018-2025


Oroboros' contribution to the reproducibility crisis
According to a survey to 1,576 researchers , "52% agree that there is a significant crisis of reproducibility” in biomedical research. There is a pressing need for the development of reference samples and tests with the purpose of standardizing quantitative measurements to reduce systematic errors and fight the reproducibility crisis. Reference samples will allow clinicians and researchers to verify the reliability and reproducibility of their measurements day-to-day and week-to-week, providing confidence that similar data generated by other laboratories are quantitatively comparable. Using the NextGen-O2k, Oroboros is developing the “MitoFit training and proficiency test”. This package offers tests for comparing the performance of participating laboratories using references samples. Measuring the mitochondrial respiration of reference samples at pre-defined time points and following strictly defined experimental protocols will make possible, for the first time, to evaluate and compare the proficiency of different laboratories and to assess the reproducibility of measurements conducted. To this aim, Oroboros collaborates in the large network of the COST Action CA15203 MitoEAGLE chaired by Erich Gnaiger.
Oroboros' contribution to the bio-economy and circular economy
Bio-economy is one of Europe's response to the key environmental challenges the world is facing today due to Climate Change. It will reduce the dependence on natural resources, transform manufacturing, promote sustainable production of renewable resources from land, fisheries and aquaculture and their conversion into food, feed, fibre, bio-based products and bio-energy, while generating new jobs and industries. Algal bioenergetics contributes in multiple ways to the bio-economy goals set by the EU: algal biomass and specific algal-based products can be used as biofuels, biomaterials, fertilisers, nutraceuticals and pharmacological substances, or cosmetic products, among others. The algal biotech field has the potential to generate 1 million new green jobs by 2030. Entering a market that is new for Oroboros, we will contribute to the algal-based bio- and circular economies, by using the unique NextGen-O2k to study algal bioenergetics to improve algal biomass production for biotechnological applications.


Commercialisation NextGen.png

NextGen project news


Bioblast wiki

Popular Bioblast page

NextGen-O2k has been accessed more than
  • 5,000 times (2019-12-16)