The objective of the present project is to lay the scientific foundations necessary to achieve eventual commercial exploitation of microbial Baeyer-Villiger mono-oxygenases (BVMOs). This particularly exciting class of enzymes is able to catalyse regio- and stereo-specific oxidations which are difficult to achieve by chemical methods. The enantiomerically pure products are intermediates for the potential manufacture of fine chemicals of high value in the pharmaceutical and food industries. We believe that it is crucial that these very promising biocatalysts are exploited for the benefit of European industry.
The aim of this proposal is to develop a multidisciplinary approach for the production, fundamental study and potential application of these enzymes. This project is timely not only because of the potential values of the products that could be made using BVMOs but also because within Europe we already have world class laboratories working on these enzymes. To capitalise on this expertise it is vital that these laboratories join together in this project, which will bring together skills in organic chemistry, enzymology, molecular biology and genetics, and Xray crystallography with biochemical engineering in an integrated way to demonstrate the feasibility of use of Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases on a large-scale and the versatility of these biocatalysts for producing chemicals of industrial interest
This will involve (i) undertaking cloning and expression to increase enzyme synthesis and express the desired enzymes in suitable hosts, (ii) scale up production of microorganisms to pilot scale (25-300L), (iii) characterisation of reactions by evaluating the properties of substrates, products and catalysts and the reaction characteristics and kinetics, (iv) establishing the scope of reactions by exploring the range of substrates that can be converted and characterising the products, (v) investigating the feasibility of effective cofactor recycling in reactions using isolated BVMOs, (vi) developing guidelines for process selection and operation (vii) the synthesis of substrate to make sufficient amounts of products for further processing, and (viii) demonstrating that such products can be converted chemically into compounds with potential commercial value
The involvement of two companies in the project will ensure that work done will be directed towards laying the foundations for achieving the ultimate goal of commercial exploitation of these catalysts to produce valuable chemicals through an efficient, cost-effective and reliable process with minimum environmental impact.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
9747 AG Groningen
EX4 4PS Exeter