1 Affiliated with the University of Calgary
2 All authors contributed equally
ABSTRACTAs a leading global cause of preventable blindness and mortality, vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a serious health problem, particularly in developing regions. Oviita aims to equip these vulnerable regions with a sustainable and community-based solution to VAD. Our solution uses a food-safe strain of Yarrowia lipolytica modified to produce beta-carotene, a Vitamin A precursor. By engineering this yeast to produce cellulase enzymes, VAD communities can grow it as their own vitamin A supplement using readily-available plant matter as feedstock. To facilitate community integration, we designed bioreactor schematics based on locally-available resources, and made the yeast auxotrophic to ensure safe growth with no environmental risk. We also created a Vitamin A biosensor to improve VAD testing, and included an anthelmintic agent in the yeast to combat poor intestinal health. Through these solutions, Oviita aims to be a sustainable and community-based adjunct to global efforts against VAD.