CORDIS - EU research results

Heterogenous biocatalytic reaction cascades training network

Project description

Industrial benefits abound from enzymatic cascades of catalytic reactions inspired by nature

Chemical synthesis is at the core of processes and products in industries from pharmaceuticals to polymers to sensors and energy. As the world turns to more sustainable synthetic methods, biocatalysts have claimed the spotlight. Heterogeneous biocatalysis involves the use of enzymes (protein catalysts) immobilised on solid supports. The confinement of enzymes in solid materials is inspired by the spatial organisation and compartmentalisation of metabolic pathways in cells. Now, INTERfaces is extending this concept to cascades of heterogeneous biocatalytic reactions. Building on the momentum provided by early stage researchers, the team plans to engineer cascades starting with two biobased monomers leading to the creation of products of industrial relevance. The most promising will be upscaled for commercial implementation.


The INTERfaces program will train 14 ESRs within an EID network jointly designed by European academic and industry partners in innovative research projects dedicated to developing clean bioprocesses for the production of chemicals. The assembly of biocatalysts to reaction sequences allows avoiding steps for isolation and purification of intermediates and thus a significant improvement of the environmental footprint of catalytic processes. The main goal of INTERfaces is the extension of this concept towards multi-step biocatalytic reactions in immobilized form. These “Heterogeneous Biocatalytic Reaction Cascades” will greatly facilitate re-use of the catalysts and further simplify downstream-processing. INTERfaces combines material science and protein engineering to design tailored enzymes and (bio-based) materials that will complement each other to obtain optimized heterogeneous biocatalysts. These tools will be applied to solve synthetic challenges in the use of two biobased monomers as starting materials to synthesize products for application fields like antioxidants and biopolymers. Process optimization and up-scale in industry will reveal key factors for synthetic utilization of the biocatalysts. INTERfaces emphasizes particularly the engineering of the designed cascades in solid phase. This includes the design of reactors, use of computational modeling tools, application of the right operational modes, and reaction medium needed for desired space-time-yields and product titers. Commercial relevant processes will be up-scaled together with industry for technical implementation. 13 Non-academic partners ranging from high-tech SMEs to large producing companies and 9 academic institutions offer an intersectoral and interdisciplinary environment to provide 14 Ph.D. candidates with outstanding employability profiles for the European Biotech Sector. Dedicated workshops and well-balanced supervisory team aim at increasing the gender diversity in biotech research.


Net EU contribution
€ 595 044,00
8000 Aarhus C

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Danmark Midtjylland Østjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 595 044,00

Participants (17)