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Germany: Biochemical Engineering

Simplification of Biocatalytic Processes in Industrial Applications

| Editor: Alexander Stark

Prof. Dr. Marcelo Fernandez-Lahore (left) who led the research project, with Senior Researcher Dr. Martin Kangwa.
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Prof. Dr. Marcelo Fernandez-Lahore (left) who led the research project, with Senior Researcher Dr. Martin Kangwa. (Source: Jacobs University)

A new project at Jacobs University is set to drastically simplify the application and implementation of biocatalytic processes in industrial practice.

Bremen/Germany — In biocatalysis, enzymes are used to accelerate chemical reactions. This plays a role in many areas, such as the production of beer, wine and cheese or the pharmaceutical industry.

A research project at the English-medium Jacobs University led by Marcelo Fernandez-Lahore, Professor of Biochemical Engineering, aims to create a novel platform for facilitating the further processing of a wide range of biological products. According to Fernandez-Lahore, the Nanofacil project will drastically simplify the application and implementation of biocatalytic processes in industrial practice.

Enzymes enable important (industrial) chemical transformations under very mild conditions. Companies need fewer organic solvents and hazardous chemicals, and their energy consumption is reduced. The use of enzymes therefore leads to more sustainable industrial practices. In particular, there is an increased demand for enzymes in the production of pharmaceuticals, flavors, fragrances and polymers.

Some time ago, scientists at Jacobs University developed a new way to apply the use of enzymes to industrial processes. This process is known as “nanoformulation”. Most enzymes are proteins; under production conditions they become unstable. “Nanoformulation” makes enzymes more resistant and improves safety in production. The “Nanofacil” project follows on from this research. It is funded by the Central Innovation Program for SMEs of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy with around $ 204,000 over a period of three years. Two industrial partners from Germany and Finland are also involved.

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