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Manchester Researchers to Develop Next Generation Biocatalysts for Producing Green Chemicals

SpecialChem / Aug 26, 2011

BIONEXGEN (Developing the Next Generation of Biocatalysts for Industrial Chemical Synthesis) is an ambitious European research programme that will develop the next generation of biocatalysts to be used for eco-efficient manufacturing processes in the chemical industry.

This three-year European Union funded project is led by Professor Nick Turner, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Biocatalysis, Biotransformations and Biocatalytic Manufacture (CoEBio3) at The University of Manchester.

Collaboration by leading European industrial and academic partners has identified a new generation of biocatalysts that, once developed, could lead to economic and environmental improvements in the manufacture of everyday chemicals such as pharmaceuticals and polymers.

Biocatalysts are enzymes, or microbial cells containing enzymes, that can carry out chemical reactions. Routes to specialised, high-value often require long chemical synthetic routes involving complex reaction steps with toxic side products and waste streams. This project will allow these methods to be replaced by clean biocatalysis routes using renewable resources.

This interdisciplinary project will bring together microbiologists, enzymologists, chemists, engineers and process development scientists to enable industry to use biotechnology to replace fossil fuel derived manufacturing methods.

The consortium consists of University research groups, small and medium sized companies, and BASF, the world?s leading chemical company.

Professor Nick Turner said: "I warmly welcome all the partners to the programme and look forward to collaborating with them in this exciting field of interdisciplinary science. The research was devised with the close involvement of industrial partners; this is a great strength of the programme and will ensure real-world application of the green chemical processes developed."

About CoEBio3

Based in the University of Manchester the CoEBio3 is one of the UK's leading Industrial Biotechnology research organizations, dedicated to providing a world-class scientific environment in which the necessary research and development can be carried out to create new biocatalyst-based processes to meet the changing needs of the chemical industry.

CoEBio3 trains graduate and post-doctoral scientists in the necessary combination of skills in chemistry, biology and engineering needed to support these changes. CoEBio3 supplies the research, training and development services to enable the application of white biotechnology to produce chemical entities with an applied "genes to kilos" philosophy.

About Manchester University

Britain's largest single-site university with a proud history of achievement and an ambitious agenda for the future. The University has an exceptional record of generating and sharing new ideas and the quality, breadth and volume of its research activity is unparalleled in the UK.

Source: Manchester University


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