Last February 14th The EU projects ROBOX and CarbaZymes jointly presented their last results. For our project it was the last time to present the project results in a public event during the lifetime of the project.
The conference started with the ROBOX presentation where its coordinator, prof. Marco W Fraaije presented his project. Later our coordinator Prof. Wolf-Dieter Fessner presented the CarbaZymes project.
The workshop also includes poster presentations where our scientist showed our results. Many of the posters presented are already available in our last two newsletters.
CarbaZymes will end the project with more than 20 publications, 3 patents and several products and processes development, we expect that in the near future this project will have produce more than 7 patents and almost 30 publications, confirming the project success.
The carbazymes consortium is currently making a second project video. The first video available in YouTube which have more than 2300 views in their two sites gave a brief description of the project idea and plans. This second video will provide more insights of the project and will have the opportunity to listen to the Scientist and Students of the project talking about the project results.
The new Carbazymes video is plan to be on-line during the month of March
Carbazymes Video Makingoff: top-left Prof.Zvjezdana Findrik (UZAG), bottom-left Dr.Philipp Süss (ENZ) and Prof. Anett Schallmey (TUBS); top-centre Prof. Gerrit J. Poelarends (RUG); Bottom-Centre Prof. Pere Clapes (CSIC); Top-right the PhD students Mr. Guo Chao (RUG) and Ms Sandra Bosch (UAM); top-righ Dr. Aurelio Hidalgo (UAM)
GREIFSWALD, February 2019
Enzymicals was nominated by Harry Glawe, Minister of Economy, Labor and Health in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, for one of the most important awards forsmall and medium sized enterprises in Germany. The nomination is a great acknowledgement to the small Greifswald based company which is specialized in the development of chemo-enzymatic processes. The motto of the competition is more important than ever: "Healthy medium sized business - strong economy - more jobs". The year 2019 is under the motto "Sustainable Business". Companies cannot apply themselves for this Prize awarded by the Oskar Patzelt Foundation. Only every thousandth company in Germany reaches the nomination list. Enzymicals is one of them. As the only German business price, the "Grand Prize of the Small and Medium Business" considers not just figures, innovations or jobs, but also the company as a whole and in its complex role in society. “Our company sees itself as a bridge builder between research and industry. Our multidisciplinary team of biologists, chemists and biotechnologists works with passion to apply research results and to use these to develop, optimize and scale up the processes up to industrial scale. We are pleased about the nomination by the Ministry of Economics," says Dr. Ulf Menyes, CEO of Enzymicals AG. This nomination is a great acknowledgement to the company celebrating its 10th anniversary this August.
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10:00 Welcome and Introduction to the workshop
10:10 Introduction to ROBOX
10:20 Engineering oxidative enzymes
10:40 Producing oxidative enzymes
11:00 Industrial applications of P450 monooxygenases and Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases
11:40 Industrial applications of alcohol dehydrogenases
12:20 Lunch & Posters
14:20 Introduction to Carbazymes
14:30 Discovery & engineering C-C bond forming enzymes
14:50 Producing Carbazymes Enzymes
15:10 Industrial applications of C-C bond forming enzymes – 1
15:50 Industrial applications of C-C bond forming enzymes – 2
16:30 Close followed by, Networking Reception
This free event will be held at DECHEMA, Max Buchner Lecture Hall in Frankfurt:
DECHEMA, Max Buchner Lecture Hall
60486 Frankfurt am Main,
The 6th Novel Enzymes conference sequel took take place from 9-12 October 2018, at the Technische Universitaet Darmstadt, Germany, in the historical "Maschinenhaus“ (see image), a beautiful architectural monument built in 1904 as a university power plant, and recently renovated to hold a lecture theatre and seminar rooms.
This event brought together 200 scientists from both academia and industry, coming from 30 countries and four continents: Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia –, to present the state of the art in enzymology and biocatalysis. From discovery and engineering of enzymes to novel biocatalytic routes and products, researchers attempt to mimic and tailor nature’s toolbox of biocatalysts: Their applications in White Biotechnology and in Green Chemistry have the potential to improve human life; to minimise the use of hazardous substances and energy expenditure in the chemical industries; to enable sustainable production processes; to aid environmental clean-up. By combining molecular biology, protein engineering and chemical analysis, enzymes today can be significantly improved or even given entirely new properties and functions. For example, enzymes can be created that can tolerate organic solvents, perform entirely new type of chemistry unseen in nature or be made resilient and suitable for demanding industrial applications.
The conference chairman, Wolf-Dieter Fessner, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Technische Universitaet Darmstadt, opened the conference. In his welcome address he gave an overview of the need for advanced sustainability in the chemical synthesis, and the potential of biocatalysis science to accelerate such a change, as well as the challenges and potential solutions to be found: through the development of the next generation catalysts– Novel Enzymes – targeted to specific tasks, along with their application and impact in industry and in addressing societal challenges.
Biocatalysts face some limitations with respect to technical applications, which can be overcome by “tailoring” them to the specific task. Enzymes have the potential to catalyse chemical reactions precisely, stereoselectively, with high speed and yield and under mild conditions.However, often chemical bonds of interest aren’t made by any natural enzyme. In addressing this challenge, as outlined by Professor Fessner, a variety of strategies and tools to identify or tailor enzymes to specific tasks have been developed:
1) Prospecting in Nature:
a) screening of microorganism collections
b) screening of organisms from new habitats
c) screening of ambient DNA (metagenomics)
2) Screening of genetic information in silico from accumulated databases
3) Optimization of known enzymes
a) by rational protein engineering or
b) by directed evolution in vitro
Professor Fessner also highlighted that this year´s one half of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was to be awarded “for the directed evolution of enzymes“. In directed evolution experiments scientists provide a new niche in the laboratory, so to speak, and encourage the evolution of enzymes to catalyze commercially useful reactions. The selection of the topic for awarding highest academic honors shows how important this science is for the future of humanity he said, and quoted Prof. Frances H. Arnold, the designated Nobel prize winner for saying:
“The future of biocatalysis is no longer limited by our ignorance, it’s really only limited by our imaginations”.
The second speech was a welcome address from the university´s vice president, during which he introduced the history, the core strengths and future goals of the TU Darmstadt. He also mentioned that Darmstadt is known as the “City of Science” named so because more than 30 research and scientific institutions and high-technology companies are located in the city. Among them is the European Space Operations Centre, the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research and three Fraunhofer Institutes. The TU Darmstadt cooperates closely with many of these establishments.
Following the welcome note, the main scientific programme of the Novel Enzymes conference started, addressing several of the challenges the scientists are presented with when searching for an appropriate, targeted biocatalyst. Moreover, the potential breadth of synthesis applications that can unfold when novel enzymatic properties are found or generated was presented through several lectures. Among the many topics presented were the following:
Two dozen other lectures on various aspects of novel enzymes were delivered, which were chosen by the Novel Enzymes Committee from a pool of triple the size of submitted abstracts, which indicates the high profile that this conference series has gained in the scientific community. Remarkably, two lectures were presented by young entrepreneurs, who focused on novel bioinformatics tools and technologies available for enzyme design and catalytic activity predictions:
The Novel Enzymes Conference hosted an extended poster session with posters being displayed over the entire duration of the conference. Two specific sessions were dedicated to browsing through them and getting acquainted with new discoveries, concepts and technologies, mostly presented by younger scientists. From an excellent pool of 97 scientific posters three were chosen by the Novel Enzymes Committee for their outstanding quality and their scientific concept, and were awarded the following prizes:
1st poster prize, the PROZOMIX Grand Poster Award of €1000 for the best contribution to the science of “Novel Enzymes.” The award went to poster author Caroline Paul from Delft University of Technology for “Synthetic cofactors for redox biocatalysis: scope and challenges of monooxygenases“.
2nd poster prize, a subscription to the RSC journal Green Chemistry. The award went to poster author Carine Vergne-Vaxelaire, from Université Paris-Saclay for “A family of Native Amine Dehydrogenases for the Asymmetric Reductive Amination of Ketones“.
3rd poster prize, a subscription to the RSC journal Catalysis Science and Technology. The award went to poster author Matthieu Da Costa from Ghent University, for “Exploring the scope of nickel pincer as enzymatic cofactor: engineering of gluconate epimerase towards the production of rare sugars“.
At the last evening of the conference a dinner took place in a traditional German restaurant where all participants had the opportunity to taste the local cuisine and brewery specialties, and perhaps have some inspiring discussions and interactions with co-workers and collaborators in an informal, relaxed atmosphere.
We would like to thank our kind and generous Novel Enzymes sponsors, namely the following companies: Bio-Prodict, PROZOMIX, BASF, MERCK, Innophore, and TWIST Bioscience, who provided for some of the more fun aspects of the conference and for the poster prizes, as an encouragement and small reward to the young aspiring scientist who presented those posters.
The Novel Enzymes conference partners were the EU Horizon 2020 projects CarbaZymes and Robox, EraCoBioTech, and the media partners Royal Society of Chemistry journals Green Chemistry and Catalysis Science and Technology.
The Novel Enzymes conference provided a great opportunity for the experts in the field and the younger generation of scientists to network and foster further collaborations which will accelerate discoveries in this critical and fast developing area of biotechnology: Termed by the European Commission “Key Enabling Technology“ for the 21st century, due to the huge innovative potential it holds for improving industrial processes, and for producing much in need medicines, chemicals and fuels that will help us underpin a shift to a greener, environmentally conscious and more resource-efficient economy.
This year´s Novel Enzymes, happily coinciding with the Nobel Prize in chemistry 2018 announcement on one of the conferences core topics, emphasized the giant leaps taken in enzyme discovery and engineering within the last two decades, and the huge potential the technology holds for multifaceted uses that will improve industrial production, the environment and thus the quality of life on the planet.