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Molecular Trait Evolution | Incubator Resident

Molecular Trait Evolution Incubator Resident

Molecular Trait Evolution (MTE) is a biotechnology company specializing in microbial strain optimization and enhancement—founded by Paul Blum and Nicole Buan, both faculty at the University of Nebraska, in 2016. Together they have over 50 years' worth of experience in working with microbes and viruses from all domains of life. MTE is an Incubator Resident at The Combine, an Agtech Startup Incubator.

The Problem:

MTE is working toward creating a carbon-negative society. Every carbon dioxide molecule released into the atmosphere remains for 250 years. This has disrupted our climate, has led to decreased food production, and threatens our freshwater supplies. As experts in energy and microbiology, the MTE team specializes in technology to turn non-food feedstocks into clean-burning hydrogen, biogas, ethanol, hydrocarbons, and value-added co-products.

The Goal:

The MTE team is working toward ensuring the next generation has a cleaner and healthier Earth than we have today. MTE provides project consulting, contractual and fee-for-service strain evolution, and engineering. They design natural or synthetic consortia and devise solutions for complex biological systems.

How Do They Plan to Get There?

1. Water: It costs a small town hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to clean wastewater. Wastewater unfit to drink or go back into waterways must be treated by a series of microbial processes resulting in anaerobic digestion. MTE can speed up the rate of anaerobic digestion and the yield of biogas and produce high-value renewable hydrocarbons that in return, will allow small communities to see a revenue return for efficiently cleaning wastewater.

2. Energy: With MTE’s technology, they can use microbes to produce fuel from carbon dioxide and other renewable carbon feedstocks. Additionally, using microbially sourced enzymes MTE enables agricultural processors to extract more sugar and oil from crops such as corn and soybeans.

3. Health: Microbes are harnessed to create vaccines, drugs, bioactive enzymes, vitamins, antibiotics, and personal health items. MTE’s approach allows them to tailor and optimize microbial metabolism to produce renewable chemicals and bioactive pharmaceuticals from the lowest-cost feedstocks and, in return, produce lower drug costs for producers and consumers.

We are happy to have Molecular Trait Evolution as a part of The Combine and are proud of the work they do! To learn more about MTE click here.


What is The Combine?

Invest Nebraska's Combine Incubator is a statewide initiative focused on supporting high-growth agri-food entrepreneurs through mentoring, commercialization support, physical incubation space on Nebraska's Innovation Campus, and a network of helping farmers and ranchers across the state. Invest Nebraska is a private, non-profit statewide venture development organization focused on high-growth companies in Nebraska and growing the state's entrepreneurial economy. Invest Nebraska works directly with entrepreneurs, researchers, and companies to help commercialize their technologies, launch and grow new businesses, and access needed capital.

Thank You To All of The Combine's Generous Sponsors:

2023 Combine Sponsors


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