Main european projects:
The INDOX (Industrial Oxidoreductases) Project is a collaborative research initiative funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme (FP7) that gathers together the expertise of sixteen participants from seven EU countries plus one partner from an EU candidate country (http://www.indoxproject.eu/about.php). The main objective is to provide relevant industrial case stories to demonstrate the efficacy of optimized biocatalysts on targeted reactions, compared to chemical conversion processes.
The biocatalysts : Researchers in INDOX are devoted to a specific group of biocatalysts, the oxidoreductases, a type of enzymes catalysing a wide range of oxidation and oxyfunctionalization reactions. The project aims to explore the industrial applicability of the most promising families of oxidoreductases in several target oxidative reactions of industrial interest.
Project work flow : Nowadays, the chemical industry is not yet embracing enzymatic oxidation reactions to a significant extent, primarily due to the lack of biocatalysts with the required selectivity and compatibility with the process conditions. The industrial partners participating in the project have identified a few oxidation and oxyfunctionalization target reactions that form the basis for the INDOX screening and optimization of new biocatalysts to obtain industrially relevant compounds like: Intermediates for agrochemicals/active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) ; Polymer precursors and functionalized polymers ; Intermediates for dye-stuffs. It has been shown that fungi and other microorganisms provide the wider and more easily exploitable source for oxidative enzymes. Therefore, the biocatalyst screening and optimization is addressed by following these steps: Recovery of selective oxidoreductase biocatalysts from fungal genomes and other sources ; Improvement of their oxidative activity and stability by protein engineering to fulfil the operational and catalytic conditions required by the chemical industry; and Optimization of reaction conditions and reactor configurations (including immobilization technologies and new enzymatic cascade reactions). The INDOX approach is supported by a highly-specialized consortium of SMEs, large companies and research/academic institutions. Production of the new optimized biocatalysts and their introduction into the chemical market will take advantage from the participation of the world-leading company in the sector of industrial enzymes, together with several chemical companies willing to implement the new medium- and large-scale biotransformation processes.
- European Consortium of Microbial Resource Centres (EMbARC) (2009-2012)
- COST Action FP0602 Biotechnology for lignocellulose Biorefineries (BIOBIO) (2007-2011)
- White biotechnology for added value products from renewable plant polymers : design of tailor made biocatalysts and new industrial bioprocesses (BIORENEW) (2006-2010)
- New Improvements for lignocellulosic Ethanol (NILE) (2006-2009)
European Network of collaborations with des excellence european centers in the filamentous fungi field study :
- TNO, The Netherlands
- VTT and Helsinki University, Finland
- Weizmann Intitute of Science, Israel
- CIB, Madrid, Spain
- BOKU, Vienna, Austria
- Athens University, NTUA, Greece
2012-2015: Community Sequencing Program (CSP) au Joint Genomic Institute (JGI), Department of Energy (US) : "Survey of the lignocellulolytic capabilities over the order Polyporales"
Saprotrophic Basidiomycetes fungi from the order Polyporales are efficient decayers of a broad range of woody substrates. Polyporales include brown-rot and white-rot species that show high diversity in enzymatic properties and can be selectively exploited for their ability to degrade cellulose, hemicellulose and/or lignin. Lignocellulose is a high potential renewable resource for the production of biofuels, power and chemicals, including high-value chemicals, from biomass. Notably, complex raw materials from different origins (dedicated crops, agricultural wastes, silviculture, etc) that do not compete with food production constitute new sources of sugars that can be fermented for production of bioethanol. In addition, the ability of many Polyporales to degrade toxic polyaromatic hydrocarbons makes them useful for the development of bioremediation and waste detoxification applications. This project is aimed at exploring the diversity of mechanisms used by Polyporales for plant biomass degradation. Genome sequencing is run in parallel with functional screens of the enzymatic properties of 40 strains, selected from the CIRM-CF collection, on different ligno- and cellulosic substrates, comparative transcriptomics and proteomics. This trans-disciplinary analysis will provide a better understanding of the molecular processes involved and will allow identification of novel enzymes important for efficient plant biomass transformation.
Collaborations: Bernard Henrissat (AFMB, Marseille), Pedro Coutinho (AFMB, Marseille), Dan Cullen (Forest Products Laboratory Madison, WI), Régis Courtecuisse (Université de Lille), David Hibbett (Clark University, Worcester, MA), Ursula Kües (University of Göttingen, Germany), Francis Martin (INRA-Nancy), Angel Martinez (Biological Research Centre, Madrid, Spain), Antonio Pisabarro (Universidad Publica de Navarra, Spain), Ronald de Vries CBS, Utrecht, The Netherlands), Han Wösten (Utrecht University, The Netherlands).