Fran was an invited speaker at the Annual Meeting organised by the (American) Society of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. She delivered a lecture titled “High versatility of extremozymes in continuous flow biocatalysis”
Abstract: We have investigated a variety of halophilic enzymes from halophilic organisms to date (the archaeon Haloferax volcanii and the halo-tolerant bacterium Halomonas elongata) with the specific aim of identifying new and robust biocatalysts able to withstand the presence of a variety of organic solvents and with a versatile active site to accommodate a broad range of substrates. Halophilic alcohol dehydrogenases (ADHs) and amine aminotransferases (AAT) from halophilic organisms alike show an unusually broad substrate scope, excellent tolerance to organic solvent and ease of manipulation. The enzymes have been successfully immobilized on an epoxy-resin which allows for reusability of the biocatalysts over 10 times. The immobilized biocatalysts can also easily be adapted to reactions in flow, under controlled pressure. Flow-biocatalysis is in its infancy with respect to more traditional chemical reaction and the potential for industrial applications is significant. Our enzymes are particularly tolerant to mechanical stress (flow and pressure) and we have achieved conversion rates above 99% with the amino transferase from Halomonas elongata. We will be presenting here our latest progress in the field of flow biocatalysis.
No harm to fit in a tour of the fabulous Rockies!