Research field and topics

 

The research activity at the Biocatalysis and Biotransformations scientific research center is focused on developing advanced technologies that use biocatalysts for the efficient production of high utility organic compounds.

The used biocatalysts are commercially available enzymes and/or enzymes modified by us through genetic engineering techniques using evolutionary and rational algorithms. Furthermore we employ various immobilization techniques which improve the operational stability of the enzymes.

The sustainability of our research activity is based on the employment of environmentally compliant conditions in laboratory and industrial scale, with minimal environmental impact, achieving substantial bioassisted transformations without equivalent to those achieved under pure chemical environment.

The research field is multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary, covering large areas of synthetic and structural organic chemistry, advanced analytical chemistry, organic and and biochemical processes engineering, molecular biochemistry and molecular biology, microbiology, bioinformatics.

 

Research topics

 

The use of reductive cells in biotransformations of chiral alcohols with high enantiopurity, as well as the use highly selective oxidative processes by means of microbial cells, in culture or in nonfermentative conditions.

The use of highly selective bioprocesses, based on hydrolytic enzymes, to achieve kinetic and dynamic kinetic resolutions, for the preparation of alcohols, amines or amino acids with high enantiopurity, with the required chirality.

The use highly stereoselective ammonia lyases and aminomutases, providing access to α- and β-amino acids with required chirality and high enantiopurity.

Development of advanced technologies for the production of biodiesel, under bioassisted conditions using commercial or artificial enzymes created in the laboratories of the research center.

In order to address this topic center has adequate infrastructure for:

  • the organic synthesis of substrates used for catalytic or enzymatic biotransformations (all the equipments required for synthesis, analysis and purification of the obtained products, liquid chromatography, UV-VIS spectrophotometers etc.);
  • fermentative and enzymatic biotransformations including the monitoring of these (sterilizers, bioreactors, cell type, disintegrator, French press, and ultrasonic equipment electrophoresis, liquid chromatography - HPLC with different types of detection: UV, mass, ELSD, gas chromatographs, centrifuges, etc.);
  • immobilization and characterization of biocatalytic enzymes acting in preparations adapted for the bioprocessing of non-natural substrates (TEM microscope, elemental analyzer, etc.);
  • development of chemical and biochemical technologies in order to obtain useful organic compounds, which includes optimizations at each operation;
  • obtaining proteins from host cells carrying modified genes (FPLC chromatograph dedicated to the separation of proteins, systems for verifying the purity and homogeneity, and stability of proteins – electrophoresis, differential scanning fluorimeter, activity assays, etc.);
  • modification of original enzymes through site-directed mutagenesis or directed evolution techniques, to obtain tailored enzymes for the bioprocesses of non-natural substrates.

The research field and the subsumed topics are supported by a large number of publications. Many of these publications have significant impact, the large number of citations supports the national and international recognition of the research center by the scientific community.

 

Innovative services towards the society

 

Based on the specificities of the research and development activities and the existing infrastructure we offer services useful in:

  • qualitative and quantitative analysis of complex organic mixtures, including biological extracts
  • development of protein-ligand conjugates
  • assessing the stability of protein preparations or complex protein associates
  • development of technologies for the resolution of chiral mixtures
  • planning and implementation of immobilized biocatalysts, dedicated to highly selective reactions