The group of Microbial Enzymes for Industrial and Environmental Applications works on the biotransformation of natural polymers, including the development of enzymes that catalyze their modification, hydrolysis, and/or synthesis.  In addition, we are exploring the potential of bacterial nanocellulose and other nanocellulosic materials, as sources of new biomaterials, suitable for high added value applications.

We have deep experience in the study of molecular biology of carbohydratases and esterases, and the identification and design of enzymes for biotechnological application in pulp bleaching and paper recycling, production of biofuels, synthesis of new compounds from wastes, improvement of textile fibers, food industry, and development of new materials based on lignocellulose and lipids. With different approaches, we have expanded the toolbox of new enzymes, or their improvement by protein-engineering strategies, available for the community. We aim at combining basic research with applied studies and innovation.

The group is currently working on the biochemical characterization and genetic manipulation of Carbohydrate Active Enzymes and Lipases from the early stages of sampling, cloning, purification up to studies of structure-function relationship, enzyme engineering, application and the combination of the new enzymes on promising substrates developed by the group, like Bacterial Cellulose or Nanofibrillated Cellulose.

Main research interests are:

  • Lignocellulose deconstruction and functionalization
  • Green chemistry: biotransformations and biofuels
  • Bacterial cellulose and nanocelluloses
  • Microbial enzymes: discovery, characterization and improvement
  • Applied biocatalysis
  • Fermentation technologies

3D structure of Xyn10B

SEM image of bacterial cellulose