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Marine microbes creating green waves in industry
Date:8/7/2009

ely little is really known about them and their potential applications. The research team's search is for industrially relevant enzymes which will reduce waste and increase productivity in the manufacture of drugs and agrochemicals. The enzymes they seek have the ability to convert compounds that would have previously been waste products in the manufacturing process, into the desired product, therefore increasing the efficiency of the process.

Professor Mark Keane, from Heriot-Watt University, said: "Our approach is to look for microbes which can promote the chemical reactions that we want to use in manufacturing. We then treat the microbes under conditions where they produce the key enzymes in higher yield, which we finally purify. The enzymes then undergo systematic testing to evaluate their activity, which enables us to pinpoint candidates that exhibit the best performance."

We are now identifying microbes with a type of enzyme called an amine oxidase. This could be key to cheaper, more efficient and sustainable process in the synthesis of valuable chemicals by both the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries."

Commenting on the findings, BBSRC Chief Executive Professor Doug Kell, said: "Green and White biotechnologies are going to be an increasingly important part of the manufacturing landscape. Looking to biological systems that have been finely tuned by evolution to solve problems, rather than starting from scratch every time, might seem an obvious thing to do. It does however, in many cases, require the bringing together of particular niche expertise. The value of this collaboration is in the coincidence of knowledge and expertise from academia with the uniquely important business of synthesising a product on a large scale.

"What the outcomes of this project will offer us is the chance to have a significant impact on the sustainability of pharmaceutical and biochemicals production as we move from oil-based to photosynthe
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Contact: Tracey Jewitt
press.office@bbsrc.ac.uk
44-179-341-4694
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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