Computer-assisted biocatalyst engineering
The accumulation of plastic waste, textiles, by-products of agroindustry, and fishing waste constitute a global problem. What these residues have in common are complex polymeric structures, both synthetic or natural. In this context, this project aims to develop biocatalytic systems for applications in recycling processes of both synthetic and natural polymers. Our approach combines computational methods with recombinant technology. The biocatalysts to be developed are based on a selected set of enzymes, which have specific depolymerizing-activities. The molecular structures of enzymes are engineered based on computational calculations, then produced in engineered microorganisms. Finally, these catalytic systems are used in different bioprocesses, such as the degradation and recycling of polyesters and polysaccharides. Recycling products are building blocks for the synthesis of new fibers with a broad application. On the other hand, residual biomass-polymers can be transformed into oligosaccharides with biological activity, such as prebiotics and others of interest in the food and pharma industries.