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Enzymatic catalysis

Enzymes used for industrial catalysis (also called biocatalysts) have to meet a great number of requirements. They originate from living organisms, usually microorganisms, and they have a basic function to transform specific biological substances inside that organism, so that the transformed molecules can be used in metabolism. To be used industrially they must become robust enough to tolerate an environment far removed from their natural setting. Often the enzymes also need to be modified to perform the exact required reaction, which might differ considerably from its original function. When developing a new bioprocess, it is common to need to modify and evaluate the function of the enzyme several times before the right one is found. Sometimes a whole system of different enzymes is needed to get the right reaction.

In order to ensure that certain basic characteristics of the enzymes are appropriate, the enzymes can be obtained from microorganisms that live in various environments. For example, if an enzyme is needed that can tolerate high temperatures, it could be obtained from a type of microorganism that naturally occurs in geysers.

From an industrial perspective, one well-designed enzyme or system of enzymes can be very attractive, as the final processing does not involve complete cells and can therefore be adapted relatively easily for use within the traditional chemical industry. 

Researchers in this field at Lund University

Portrait of Patrick Adlercreutz. Photo.

Patrick Adlercreutz

Professor, Division of Biotechnology, Department of Chemistry

Email: patrick [dot] adlercreutz [at] biotek [dot] lu [dot] se

Patrick Adlercreutz researches enzyme technology, focusing on the use of enzymes for production of carbohydrate-based surfactants, oligosaccharides (prebiotics), lipids, and chiral building blocks (used for, e.g., pharmaceuticals).
Portrait of Eva Nordberg Karlsson. Photo.

Eva Nordberg Karlsson

Professor, Division of Biotechnology, Department of Chemistry

Email: eva [dot] nordberg_karlsson [at] biotek [dot] lu [dot] se

Eva Nordberg Karlsson works within the fields of enzymology and microbiology, with a focus on production and biomolecular development of carbohydrate-modifying enzymes for hydrolysis (oligo- and monosaccharides) and trans-glycosylation reactions (for glycoconjugates such as surfactants and antioxidants), using the carbohydrate polymers of the biomass as the starting material. She focuses particularly on bacterial enzymes from extreme microorganisms and from probiotic bacteria.
Portrait of Henrik Stålbrand. Photo.

Henrik Stålbrand

Professor, Division of Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Department of Chemistry

Email: henrik [dot] stalbrand [at] biochemistry [dot] lu [dot] se