Bio2Future course "Novel carbohydrate-based materials from microbes"
The composition of plant-based polysaccharides is limited to cellulose and hemicelluloses. From these building blocks, only a limited number of value-added products can be obtained by chemical, thermal or enzymatic treatment, thus, the design space for creating completely novel polysaccharide based compounds is limited. In contrast to plants, microbes produce are large variety of polysaccharides. Microbial polysaccharides have diverse and unique properties and are in use for food applications since many years.
The increasing insights into fundamental mechanisms and functions of genes and proteins involved in the different microbial polysaccharide biosynthesis pathways in combination with the growing portfolio of techniques for genetic engineering have the potential to be applied for the production of tailored materials. The course will highlight how the diversity of polysaccharide-based compounds can be increased and how synthetic biology can be harnessed to tailor polysaccharides and to increase the product portfolio in the future. Access to tailored polysaccharides will enable novel biomaterials revolutionizing medical applications (e.g. tissue engineering, drug delivery, wound healing, vaccines and diagnostics).
The course is intended for postgraduate students with an interest in polysaccharide-based biomaterials, which would like to go beyond the classical materials such as cellulose. The course presupposes a basic understanding of key biological concepts and processes.
After the course, the students will appreciate the complexity of microbial polysaccharide biosynthesis. Students will learn how the use of modern genetic engineering approaches can be utilized to reprogramme biosynthetic pathways.
The course will consist of lectures, presentations by the participants and a group work. In order to complete the course, students need additionally to complete a pre-assignment.
Photos: Nina Riutta