Industrial Biotechnology & Biocatalysis Group (IndBioCat)

The group leaded by Dr Evangelos Topakas has the primary objective to develop new biotechnological tools; enzymes and microorganisms, for the production of second generation biofuels, bio-based polymers and chemicals in the concept of Industrial Biorefinery. The group is active in a broad range of related scientific fields, such as Protein Engineering, Recombinant DNA Technology, Biochemical Engineering and Biocatalysis.

 

IndBioCat is part of the Biotechnology Laboratory (BL) that has a renowned world reputation in the area of biomass bioconversion and biochemistry of plant cell wall degrading enzymes for the production of bioactive compounds and biofuels. The last few years, IndBioCat has discovered novel enzymatic activities that can degrade or modify agroindustrial and food waste by screening/genome mining of Fusarium oxysporum and Myceliophthora thermophila. More specifically, the group has worked on the discovery of novel enzymes (cellulolytic, hemicellulolytic and ligninolytic enzymes) for the enzyme-aided extraction or modification of bioactive components (Biocatalysis in non-conventional media) from biomass using conventional and modern bioinformatics assisted strategies (genome mining), heterologous overexpression (Pichia pastoris, Escherichia coli) and biochemical characterization of carbohydrate degrading recombinant enzymes, study of the structure/function relationship and regulatory mechanisms of the enzymes induced by saprophytic organisms.

Biotechnology Laboratory covers a surface area of 400m2 and possesses the following equipment, which is necessary for the basic and advanced experiments in the area of Industrial biotechnology and Biocatalysis: PCR, electrophoresis units, 2D-PAGE system suitable for the analysis and investigation of secretoms, incubators, well equipped enzyme reactors and bioreactors (solid state and submerged batch) ranging from 1-120 L, protein purification system (FPLC), analytical instrumentation (HPLC, GC, HPAEC, FTIR), Ultrafiltration Minitan system.

 

Objectives

  • Discovery and recombinant expression of novel biocatalysts for the modification of plant cell wall material
  • Biocatalysis: discovery of novel reaction systems and biocatalysts for the synthesis and modification of bioactive compounds
  • Industrial Biorefinery: production of biopolymers and bioactive compounds from residual agroindustrial biomass
  • Molecular mechanisms and kinetics in enzyme processes based on complex carbohydrate substrates
  • Study of the function/structure of novel biocatalysts
  • Saccharification and fermentation of agricultural wastes towards the production of second generation biofuels
  • Valorization of olive oil mill wastewater for the microbial production of industrial enzymes and nutraceuticals
  • Discovery of novel marine biocatalysts for the degradation of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

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