Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Protein Technology

Professor Emma Master leads the Protein Technology research group. The goal of the group is to discover, design and produce enzymes and non-catalytic proteins that can be used to create new polymers and chemicals from plant fiber.
group-picture-2018

Research aims to find tools for sustainable utilization of renewable plant resources

Forest biomass (lignocellulose) is largely made up of three polymers, cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin. Today, cellulose fibers are the main product of pulp mills across Finland and globally, while over 50% of the wood biomass resource remains underutilized. Our research focuses on the discovery and development of new proteins that can be used to sustainably synthesize novel, high-value biomaterials from underutilized and renewable plant resources.

Enzymes are tools with advantages

Enzyme catalyzed reactions benefit from four key advantages.

  1. Specificity that allows predictable modification of complex substrates.
  2. Exquisite tunability through protein discovery and engineering.
  3. Operation in mild reaction conditions that can reduce energy costs and undesired transformation of starting materials.
  4. Biodegradability, which helps to ensure the sustainability of the synthesis process as well as end product.

The Protein Technology group mines unexplored genomic data from plant biomass degrading microorganisms to discover new enzymes and non-catalytic proteins able to create valuable, bio-based products from plant polysaccharides. To support this objective, our group also designs and develops new enzyme screens to address the increasing limitations of existing assays.

Examples of ongoing research projects

  • Bio-derived HIgh Value polymers through novel Enzyme function
  • Capturing Oxidoreductases for Carbohydrate Oligomer Activation
  • Biocatalytic cascades for hemicellulose reassembly
  • Fibers for adsorption

Latest publications

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, Molecular Biotechnology, Department of Chemistry and Materials Science, Protein Technology, Bioorganic Chemistry
Publishing year: 2019 ChemSusChem
Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, Protein Technology
Publishing year: 2019 PloS one
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database

People

Emma Master

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Adjunct Professor
Anders Mollerup

Anders Mollerup

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Postdoctoral Researcher

Ville Aumala

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Doctoral Candidate
Johanna Karppi

Johanna Karppi

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Postdoctoral Researcher

Mareike Monschein

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Postdoctoral Researcher
Leena Penttinen

Leena Penttinen

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Postdoctoral Researcher

Eleni Ioannou

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Postdoctoral Researcher
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