Porous Scaffolds for 3D biocatalysis using biofilms

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Sch of Biosciences


Biocatalysis is an advantageous process for the production of some chemicals; it offers stereoselectivity and stereospecificity when compared to many chemically-catalysed reactions, and so is frequently used for the production of pharmaceuticals. We have developed novel recombinant biofilm platforms for biocatalysis that outperform immobilised enzymes, cell lysates and whole planktonic cells in the biocatalytic generation of 5-halotryptophans, which are important pharmaceutical precursors.

In this project we will prepare a library of porous polymer scaffolds (aka polyHIPEs) for supporting growth of recombinant bacterial biofilms. It is desirable to move from current planar biofilm supports to 3D porous scaffolds in order to increase catalyst loading and overall surface area, thus improving reaction efficiency. Scaffolds and bacteria developed in will be used to build a flow-through bioreactor in packed bed, trickle bed or monolith configurations.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1790821 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 03/10/2016 27/03/2021 Pavan Rao Adoni
Description Tested and selected a number of polymers that are able to interact with and cluster bacteria.
Confirmed that these polymers are not toxic to the cells.
Done relevant biofilm assays to determine the level of biofilm formation within polymer induced bacterial clusters
Polymer properties dictate biofilm levels
Polymer-induced biofilms have been tested for their biocatalysis ability, with promising results so far
Exploitation Route Could use the polymer induced clusters and subsequent biofilms in bioreactors as biocatalysts.
Sectors Chemicals,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology