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Training synthetic chemists to go green

The chemical manufacturing industry traditionally relies on harsh chemicals to do its job. An EU-funded training network helped get a new generation of scientists up to speed on the use of enzymes and biocatalysis as an eco-friendly alternative.

Climate Change and Environment

The project 'A European biotechnology training network for the support of chemical manufacturing' (BIOTRAINS) worked to establish a Europe-wide network of scientists in industrially oriented white biotechnology. To promote sustainable chemical manufacturing, comprehensive training and skills development was provided for scientists in biocatalysis — using enzymes rather than harsh synthetic catalysts. Eleven different research projects were undertaken at various sites throughout the EU to enhance an important area of European industry’s scientific and technological base. The focus was related to the development of enzyme technology with potential value for developing economically viable routes for green chemical manufacture. In addition to publications, the team had an impressive showing at the bi-annual BIOTRANS 2011 conference organised by the European Federation of Biotechnology. Two of the prestigious eight poster awards were given to Early Stage Researcher Fellows (PhD students) in the BIOTRAINS Training Network. A series of meetings were also held for networking, sharing of experiences and generating discussion related to important future developments. Industrial placement training has also begun and is expected to be quite successful with excellent participation of full and associate partners from industry. BIOTRAINS efforts will go a long way towards replacing traditional chemical manufacturing using toxic chemicals with so-called 'white biotechnology' based on enzymes and biocatalysis. Safer and less environmentally damaging industrial methods will enhance the sustainability of the EU chemical manufacturing industry, meeting industry needs and European goals.


Training, network, biocatalysis, Biotechnology, white biotechnology, enzymes

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