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, they are exploring the potential of bacterial nanocellulose and other nanocellulosic materials, as sources of new biomaterials, suitable for high added value applications.
They 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, they have expanded the toolbox of new enzymes, or their improvement by protein-engineering strategies, available for the community. They aim at combining basic research with applied studies and innovation.
In the past years, we have been exploring sustainable ways to generate bio-nanoparticles produced from cellulosic sources. The development of these materials displays exceptional physicochemical properties, such as an ultrafine reticulated structure, high crystallinity, high tensile strength, high hydrophilicity and biocompatibility. These unique properties are allowing to develop new biocomposites and to evaluate their properties.
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.