A MAJOR PROBLEM
VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY IS A LEADING CAUSE OF CHILDHOOD MORTALITY
WE'RE HERE TO CHANGE THAT.
As 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, 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, two contributing factors to VAD. Through these solutions, Oviita aims to be a sustainable and community-based adjunct to global efforts against VAD. Check out our description page and our project presentation video to learn more about Oviita.