Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy
At Deakin, the focus of Industrial Biotechnology (IB) is on the replacement of traditional chemical processes with more sustainable and environment friendly biological processes. Natural as well as genetically modified microorganisms (eg. bacteria, yeast, fungi) are used to develop new processes to improve yield of the industrially useful product. We are particularly interested in the production of hydrolytic enzymes (cellulases, lipases and rhamnosidases), secondary metabolites (omega-3 fatty acids, and value-added ingredients, flavonoids, carotenoids and organic acids) from under-utilized biomass and micro-organisms. Some of our research interests are outlined below.
- Enzymes: Production of industrial enzymes and their applications. This includes the food enzymes- rhamnosidase, pectinases, proteases, tannase; Enzymes used in biomass conversion- cellulases, beta glucosidases, rhamnosidase and b-galactosidase etc.
- Bioactives/Food additives: Secondary metabolites, microbial food colorants and organic acids are other important areas where active research is under progress.
- Therapeutic proteins: production and purification of both microbe and plant based proteins (such as ribosome inactivating proteins, nutraceuticals) and molecular characterization.
- Bacterial expression system: Production of carbohydrate degrading enzymes, and functional foods. The production of proteins and other molecules using microbial fermentation and enzymatic synthesis are carried in Laboratory scale fermentation facility.
Biofuels & Bioenergy
Australia has an enormous amount of biomass available in the form of agricultural and forestry residues, bagasse and feedstock currently unused for the production of biofuels. The technology for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into biofuels warrants further research to maximise yield to the point of industrial feasibility. Major initiatives are under progress to meet technological challenges involved in the production of second-generation biofuel and the availability of various kinds of lignocellulosic biomass for biofuel production.
- Enzymatic hydrolysis of agriculture and forest biomass: Pre-treatment of available biomass for ethanol production (variety of raw materials such as hemp, citrus and wood waste).
- Bioethanol production: Optimisation of aerobic and anaerobic process for maximizing ethanol by volume yield. This includes genetic manipulation, pre-treatment, mode of fermentation that reduces need for power followed by efficient downstream processing.
- Biodiesel production: Screening of microalgae, yeast or mixed cultures (molecular identification, SEM, phase contrast, spectroscopy studies) for the processing of the biomass. Selection and modification/ biotransformation of the algal oils by lipases/solvents for the production of biofuels.
Microbes and biomass for biofuel production
Nano-structured materials have been shown to be efficient supports for enzyme immobilization. These nanomaterials such as nanoparticles, nanofibers, nanotubes, nanoporous medium, and nanocomposite possess large surface area that can increase the enzyme loading and facilitate reaction kinetics, thus improving the biocatalytic efficiency for industrial applications. The interaction of enzymes with NPs offers variety of opportunity to explore biotechnology application with reference to food and pharmaceutical industry.
- Characterizing novel nanomaterials for enzyme immobilization by conducting XRD, FT-IR, SEM, TEM and kinetic studies
- Few enzymes have been immobilized on nanoparticles for demonstrating their potential application in food processing and bioenergy generation.
- Biosensor development for therapeutic applications
Nanoparticles (NP shown in blue) used for enzyme immobilization
- Gupta A, Barrow CJ, Puri M. Omega-3 biotechnology; Thraustochytrids as a novel source of omega-3 oils. Biotechnology Advances (Available online 3 March 2012)
- Verma ML, Barrow CJ, Kennedy JF, Puri M. Covalent immobilization of ß-galactosidase from Kluyveromyces lactis on to a functionalized silicon dioxide nanoparticle. International Journal Biological Macromolecules 2012, 50, 432-437.
- Puri M, Sharma D, Barrow CJ. Enzyme assisted extraction of bioactives from plants. Trends in Biotechnology 2012, 30(1), 37-44.
- Kaur I et al., Puri M. Balsmin, a novel ribosome inactivating protein purified from the seeds of Balsam Apple (Momordica balsamina). Amino Acids (doi 10.1007/s00726-011-1162-1)
- Abraham R, Barrow CJ, Puri M. Effect of different pretreatments on hemp (Cannabis sativa) and its enzymatic saccharification for biofuel production. CESE, Taiwan, 25-30 Sep 2011.
- Puri M, Sharma D, Barrow C and Tiwary AK. Optimization of novel method for the extraction of stevioside from S. rebudiana leaves. Food Chemistry 2012, 132, 1113-1120.
- Puri M, Kaur A, Singh R S. Citrus peel enhances production of a novel naringinase in a stirred tank reactor by Staphylococcus xylosus MAK2. Applied Microbiology Biotechnology 2011, 89 (3), 715-722.
- Puri M, Sharma D, Tiwary A. Downstream processing of stevioside and its potential applications. Biotechnology Advances 2011, 29, Issue 6, Nov- Dec, 781-791
- Kaur A, Singh RS, Schwarz WH. Puri M. Hydrolysis of citrus peel naringin by recombinant-rhamnosidase from Clostridium stercorarium. Journal Chemical Technology Biotechnology 2010, 85, 1419-1422.
- Puri M, Kaur A, Singh RS, Schwarz WH, Kaur A. One step purification and immobilization of His-tagged rhamnosidase for narigin hydrolysis. Process Biochemistry 2010, 45 (4), 445-451.
- Kapardar R, Ranjan R, Grover A, Puri M, Sharma R. Identification and characterization of genes conferring salt tolerance to E.coli from pond water metagenome. Bioresource Technology 2010,101 (11) 3917-3924.
Dr M Verma Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Higher Degree by Research Students
- R Abraham: Screening, production and characterisation of cellulases for biofuel production
- A Gupta: Characterisation of marine thraustochytrids capable of producing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids
- T Thyagarajan: Fermentation of omega-3 and carotenoid producing microorganisms
- A Byreddy: Molecular Engineering of lipase to improve selectivity and thermal stability for the hydrolysis of omega-3 fatty acids
- S Kapoor: Improved commercial production of mycorrhiza by growing in a bioreactor (DIRI India)
MSc Biotechnology Students
- K Mahale: Ionic liquid assisted extraction of flavonoids from citrus species (completed)
- S Sahoo: Immobilization of microbial glucosidase for bioenergy generation (completed)
- E Koshlaf: Screening and immobilization of rhamnosidase on nanoparticle for citrus processing
- A Wong: Pre-treatment of biomass for biofuel production
Bioprocessing and Nano-biotechnology
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