Neoplant

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Introducing Neo P1.
A world-first project.

Neo P1

Neo P1 is a fully bioengineered plant system made up of both our patented bioengineered microbiome and bioengineered plant, designed to unlock a new level of air purification.

In 2023, we developed a first version of Neo P1 based on years of R&D in genetic design, metabolism engineering, and plant transformation and regeneration. After rigorous testing, we noticed significant performance variations that we need to fix. In addition, USDA approval is still ongoing (we are pioneering new territory) so we have decided to iterate on our bioengineered plant feature to enhance performance and get it ready for release at larger scale. Want to be the first to hear updates?

CURRENT
PROGRESS

Neo P1: An Iterative Process

After a first version of Neo P1 that went through rigorous testing in 2023, we decided to rework the bioengineered plant feature to optimize its performance. We are now in phase 2 of Neo P1’s journey, building on what we have developed so far. Science is a process and a journey, but we’re working on it and can’t wait to share it with you.

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Microbiome engineering

No plant lives alone. In fact they thrive thanks to billions of microorganisms, helping the plant to grow and stay healthy. There are hundreds of different species of bacteria and fungi living on the leaves, around the roots and even inside the plant, constituting its microbiome. Some of these bacteria are innately able to use pollutants as a food source.

We selected two of these beneficial bacteria, and enhanced their bioremediation efficiency through artificial evolution. These two new bacterial strains are now highly specialised in metabolising either formaldehyde or BTEX. We then performed microbiome engineering by innoculating Neo P1’s root system with these two strains, creating a symbiotic plant-bacteria relationship designed to clean indoor air of VOCs – we call these ‘Power Drops’. This relationship becomes less stable after several weeks, which is why it’s best to innoculate Neo P1 with Power Drops once a month for maximum efficiency.

Plant Metabolism Engineering

Epipremnum aureum (commonly known as Pothos — our foundation to build the Neo P1) possesses one of the highest bioremediation efficiencies amongst indoor plants and contains more than tens of thousands of genes in its DNA. Each gene can be thought of as a line of code, instructing the plant to produce a protein with a specific function, helping its cells to survive and thrive.

Through transgenesis, we inserted a few additional genes, or lines of code, enabling the plant to produce enzymes with a new function: turning pollutants into plant matter. This is called metabolism engineering. By introducing these genes, we created two new synthetic metabolic pathways. The first enzymatic pathway turns formaldehyde into fructose, a sugar that the plant uses as food source. The second turns benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene and xylene (BTEX) into an amino acid that the plant uses as building block for its proteins. This enables every one of the plant’s cells to become a natural air purifier.

What We've
Achieved So Far

Fig 2.The first 200 Neo P1 prototypes in our plant nursery in California, 2024

Neo P1 prototypes: from one single cell to fully grown plants

When we started Neoplants, we set out to design genes to drastically boost the air-purification performance of regular plants.
Our team designed and inserted these genes into one single plant cell, coding for this novel capacity.
Enabling the plant to grow and survive with this editing seemed like an impossible feat.

But now, after 5 years of R&D, our first 200 prototypes are healthy, fully grown, and expressing our genes.

A first-of-its kind development in plant science

This graph shows the expression profile of one of these genes, where a value of 1 means that the gene of interest is highly expressed. Over the past few years, 1,839 GM plants have been successfully transformed by our team and tested to unlock a good to excellent level of transgene expression. The proper gene expression of such biosynthetic pathways is a first-of-its-kind development in plant science. Yet, the Neo P1 did not show results that meet our air purification standards. So, we're currently iterating on Neo P1 in order to enhance and optimize performance. Stay tuned for updates.

Fig 3. Gene expression in Neo P1 plant prototypes for one of the desired genes.