Health & Nutrition
One of the foundational technologies in industrial biotechnology is enzyme technology. Enzymology, biocatalysis, molecular modelling, structural biology, and diagnostics are all topics of this field’s research, both fundamental and applied.
The overarching objective is to create new, more environmentally friendly goods, methods, and services to satisfy human needs, or to enhance methods for manufacturing already-existing goods using fresh biomass and new raw materials.
Biocatalysis for sustainable chemistry
Advanced molecules with exact three-dimensional geometry and structure make up high-value compounds. For the synthesis of such molecules to be both economically and environmentally viable, an effective process must be used in a few simple stages. For this, enzymes can be mixed, customised, and employed as strong machinery. We are researching techniques to emulate nature and modify the catalytic machinery so that novel chemical reactions can be carried out in the active site of these new enzymes. We are also researching strategies to engineer and optimise enzymes for industrial-scale chemical production. It is well known that the beginnings of divergent evolution in Nature were caused by this catalytic promiscuity.
New DNA analysis tools have profoundly changed genomic research and made it possible for researchers to perform experiments that weren’t previously economically or physically feasible. Genomic analysis, epigenetic methylation analysis, medication resistance/response analysis, and forensic science are a few examples of crucial application fields. The road to translation into molecular and clinical diagnostics will be paved by further advancements in technology robustness and process simplification. The creation of a novel DNA analysis principle will be the main focus of our study. The new principle will be developed by fusing technologies based on enzyme-catalyzed reactions, with an emphasis on cancer research.
Biocatalysis towards bio-based polymers
There is a push to enhance the market share of bio-based materials and polymers for a sustainable future. The creation of chosen products is now more feasible thanks to selective enzyme catalysis. In conjunction with enzyme engineering, our research primarily focuses on fundamental and applied enzyme catalysis. We are creating enzyme-based techniques to create functional bio-based polymers in a selective and effective manner. Through the use of enzyme engineering, we are creating enzymes with increased catalytic activity toward certain monomers. We integrate enzyme chemistries with chemical curing and formulation techniques in partnership with polymer chemists (BioPol-group KTH) to create customised (i.e. long-lasting) bio-based polymers and materials.
By providing environmentally acceptable technologies for the manufacture of biofuels, chemicals, and materials from biomass resources, novel enzyme solutions have the potential to enhance effective biomass usage and so greatly contribute to the shift to a bio-based economy. Target enzymes for ensuing biochemical characterisation are discovered using genomics, metagenomics, and bioinformatics from plant and microbial species that are carbohydrate-active. Currently, glycoside hydrolase family 5 enzymes are the principal subject of research (GH5). Finding enzymes that can be incorporated into industrial processes to transform biomass into useful products is the goal.
Plant synthetic biology
The goal of the study is to comprehend how several circuits that govern transcription factors affect how lignocellulose is formed in plants. To infer regulatory circuits involving lignocellulose in several species, we employ tools from plant molecular biology and bioinformatics analysis. In an effort to expand and/or modify lignocellulose, we create synthetic transcription circuits based on these research, drawing inspiration from natural networks. This is a synthetic biology method. Long-term, the results of our research may enable us to modify the biosynthesis of lignocellulose and its constituents (such as lignin, cellulose, and/or xylan) for improved biomass output, saccharification potential, and/or material characteristics.
Protein engineering in conjunction with structural biochemistry is a potent method for understanding how enzymes function and how they might be improved to function better for particular biotechnological applications. Our research focuses on the structure-function relationships that underlie (1) the action of oxidative enzymes in biomass conversion (such as the cellobiose dehydrogenase-polysaccharide monooxygenase system, pyranose oxidases, and dehydrogenases), and (2) the enzymatic synthesis of glycoconjugates and polysaccharides by integral transmembrane glycosyltransferases. Additionally, we are looking into methods for the cell-free in vitro manufacture of sugar polymers for biomaterial design and therapies, as well as the identification of thermostable glycoside hydrolases for commercial use.
Advances in Enzyme Technology
In the environment and through strain selection, new enzymes are being sought for.
As many different applications for established commercial enzymes as are imaginable exist;
Genetic engineering is being used to create novel enzymes, new organic catalysts are being created using the “know-how” gained from enzymology, and more complicated enzyme systems are being used.
APPLICATIONS IN FOOD INDUSTRY
The two main enzymes used in the processing of dairy products are catalase and lactase. Catalase, an enzyme utilised largely to lower the quantity of hydrogen peroxide in dairy products so that it can be used to kill infections, is abundant in bovine colostrum. By lowering the lactose content, low lactose hydrolyzed milk can improve the flavour, sweetness, and nutritional value of milk. The addition of lactase to fermented milk can hasten the reaction, boost fermentation effectiveness, provide a distinct frankincense flavour, and relatively lengthen the shelf life of the product.
The primary purposes of enzyme in the meat business are to raise the added value of by-products and to enhance product quality (colour, smell, taste, etc.).
The papain Ca ++ intensifier totally eliminates the conventional flaws of tough taste, softness, grey colour, and low yield in beef products by giving them a reddish brown colour, crispy taste, and pleasant flavour. When used to tenderise mutton, a small amount of bromelain mixed with phosphates, calcium chloride, etc. can significantly enhance flavour. Lamb sausage made from raw materials that have undergone this treatment process offers tender meat, good elasticity, and a distinctive flavour. Additionally, it compensates for ham sausage’s lack of lamb sausage. Transglutaminase is able to catalyse the production of lysine covalent connections between or within protein molecules in order to create protein gels that give meat products a particular level of hardness and elasticity.
Protein hydrolyzate can be produced during the lengthy processing of meat products using protein complex enzymes.
For instance, using papain and bacillus subtilis neutral protease to hydrolyze snake meat under the process conditions of pH value of 6.5–6.7, 55°C, and six-hour reaction, it can produce substances with rich nutrients and bioactive properties, as well as an easily digestible nutrition solution, after proper purification.
Meat from Maoshi pearls is hydrolized by neutral protease and pepsin from Bacillus subtilis.
Since so much of the protein in the hydrolyzate has been broken down into amino acids, it is easier to absorb, more tasty, and lighter in colour.
The by-products of meat processing that can be used as raw materials to create new meat extracts following enzymatic treatment include bone, bone crackers, mechanical flesh, fat, and oil residue. Meat extracts are split into two groups based on their properties and uses. The taste meat extract is made up of tiny peptides and free amino acids, while the functional kind of meat extract is often made up of 10 amino acid molecules and has a moderate level of hydrolysis. Meat extract, bone soup, or other bone components can be found in flavour meat extracts.
In order to increase food flavour and protein content, such products with the natural aroma of raw materials can be made into paste or powder and added to meat products, instant noodles seasoning package, sauce, or snack foods; additionally, it can be a precursor of flavours or meat flavour after further Maillard reaction. High temperatures can be used to treat functional meat extract without denaturing the proteins. It can be used in sausage, ham, and other goods to improve the adhesive characteristics of the meat products, cutting, and prevent the loss of meat products while cooking thanks to the special adhesive and water retaining function.
Fruit and vegetable processing and beverage industry
Pectin, cellulase, and amylase are the main enzymes utilised in this field; they are often employed alone or in combination. These enzymes are primarily used to peel fruit, clarify fruit juice, decrease viscosity, increase rate, and improve stability. In addition, they are also used to make vegetable juice, increase fruit and vegetable shelf life, decrease nutritional loss, and perform other related tasks.
For instance, under the conditions of pH 4.0, 60°C, and a four-hour reaction, adding papain (10000U/100g), alpha-amylase (250U/100g), cellulase (600U/100g), and pectinase (1000U/100g) to the clarification of lychee juice can result in high-quality lychee juice with moderate nutritional loss.
Enzymes are also frequently used in the extensive processing of tea. Tannase can make tea more soluble in cold temperatures, stop tea from becoming hazy, and increase tea’s potency. And today, it is utilised in oolong, green, and black tea. Tea’s cell wall can be broken down by pectinase and cellulase, which makes it easier for the active substances to dissolve and increases the rate of instant tea products as well as product clarity and aroma. Tea’s taste, separation performance, and rate of extraction can all be improved by protease.