Industrial Biotechnology & Biocatalysis Group (IndBioCat)
The group led by Dr Evangelos Topakas has the primary objective to develop new biotechnological tools; enzymes and microorganisms, for the production of second generation biofuels, bio-based polymers and chemicals in the concept of Industrial Biorefinery. The group is active in a broad range of related scientific fields, such as Bioinformatics, Protein Engineering, Enzyme Expression and Purification, Biochemical Engineering and Biocatalysis. Our research pipeline covers a broad range of activities starting from gene towards a final product.
IndBioCat group is part of Biotechnology Laboratory of the School of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, which has a renowned world reputation in the area of biomass bioconversion of plant cell wall degrading enzymes for the production of bioactive compounds and biofuels. The last few years, IndBioCat group’s research experience includes the discovery of industrial enzymes for the utilization of residual biomass for the production of 2nd generation liquid biofuels and high-added value compounds in the field of Biorefineries. For the production of energy, chemicals and materials utilizing waste biomass, on behalf of the Industrial Biotechnology concept, conventional and modern omics technologies were employed (Genomics, Transcriptomics, Proteomics) in combination with Genetic and Protein Engineering tools to investigate and modify biocatalytic systems of bacteria and fungi. The heterologous overexpression of target enzymes with industrial potential in microbial hosts, such as Pichia pastoris and Escherichia coli, allows their Biotechnological evaluation, as well as their study of the structure/function relationship and regulatory mechanisms of saprophytic terrestrial and marine microorganisms. Recently, the knowledge obtained in plant cell wall degrading enzymes is adopted for the conversion and upcycling of synthetic polymers to fight plastic pollution.
Biotechnology Laboratory covers a surface area of 400 m2 and possesses the following equipment, which is necessary for the basic and advanced experiments in the area of Industrial biotechnology and Biocatalysis: PCR, electrophoresis units, shaking and static incubators, well equipped enzyme reactors and bioreactors (solid state and submerged batch) ranging from 0.1-120 L, downstream processing infrastructure including ultrafiltration apparatus (pilot and lab scale), protein purification system (FPLC) and analytical instrumentation (HPLC, GC, HPAEC, GPC).
- Multi-omics analysis of target fungal and bacterial targets for the discovery of novel enzymes
- Discovery and recombinant expression of novel biocatalysts for the modification of plant cell wall material and synthetic polymers (plastic waste)
- Biocatalysis: discovery of novel reaction systems and biocatalysts for the synthesis and modification of bioactive compounds
- Industrial Biorefinery: Saccharification and fermentation of agricultural wastes towards the production of second generation bioproducts and functional materials
- Molecular mechanisms and kinetics in enzyme processes based on complex carbohydrate substrates
- Study of the function/structure of novel biocatalysts
- Discovery of novel marine biocatalysts for the degradation of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
- Utilization of biowaste and lignocellulosic biomass for the production of high added-added value products from microalgae