Application of enzymes for bioeconomy solutions
Katja Salomon Johansen. From: Copenhagen University, Denmark, to: Chalmers University of Technology.
During the one year project periode, an experienced researcher from a large biotech company in Denmark will move to Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden to conduct research in the field of green chemistry. This will bring together not only business and academia but also the agricultural driven research from Denmark with the forestry based research in Sweden. This will further strengthen the research and innovation milieu in Västra Götaland and build long-term relations.The project consists of both an experimental component and other activities of significant value to both the researcher and the University.
Experimental work will be conducted within the project to bridge the fundamental insight into the detailed enzyme mechanism with optimal use in the industrial relevant biorefinery process of liberating free sugars from lignocellulose. In particular the implication in connection to the application of cellulose specific lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMO) will be studied. LPMOs are already included in the most advanced cellulytic enzyme products but the chemistry of its use is insufficiently understood. The researcher has pioneered the discovery of this important class of enzymes and it is an aim of the project to contribute significantly to consolidation of the scientific thinking in the field of fungal decomposition of lignocellulose and hereby to the optimal use of the enzyme technology in a biorefinery context.
The researcher will gain additional academic training through conducting a Ph.D course on biomass acting enzymes and methodology for understanding the enzymatic action. In addition, the researcher will contribute to the general knowledge base at the university by facilitating a workshop on innovation and business aspects of bioeconomy.
Project Summary Results
During the 1-year mobility stay in Gothenburg, the research has established strong ties to Chalmers Technical University. The researcher has, together with the host professor, successfully applied for external funding. This new project was initiated on March 1st 2016 and a post doc has been hired to conduct the 2-year research project. In addition, the researcher has developed and taught a Ph.D course in Advanced Enzymology and prepared an application to become unremunerated Docent at Chalmers. This is one of the goals for the mobility-stay and the research has therefore also followed a course in supervision of doctoral students which is a requirement for becoming Docent at Chalmers. The researcher has published six peer-reviewed scientific papers during the mobility stay.
These scientific papers reports significant advancement in the understaning of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs).
The experimental work at Chalmers was focused on implementing methods in this laboratory and evaluating new equipment for the study of LPMOs. These methods will be used by the Post Doc in the coming periode of time. Furthermore, a new line of related research was initiated in collaboration with a Professor from another division in Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Furthermore, the scientist has written a higher doctoral thesis which has been submitted to Copenhagen University.