- Membrane structure and transport
Engineering and technology
- Biocatalysis and enzyme technology
- Bioprocessing, bioproduction and bioproducts
- Industrial microbiology
- Industrial molecular engineering of nucleic acids and proteins
Industrial biotechnology puts microorganisms such as bacteria or yeasts to work for the production of valuable compounds. In this way, chemicals, food or feed ingredients and biofuels are mass-produced by microorganisms in an eco-friendly manner. Very often, molecular biology is applied to alter the DNA of these microorganisms in order to enlarge the range of interesting compounds they produce by nature. However, assembly of these compounds usually occurs inside the cell, bringing along problems regarding cell-toxicity and reduced yields due to inefficient export of the compound of interest or due to low uptake rates of substrates. Indeed, in quite some cases problems are encountered to let substrates or compounds cross the cell membrane. The MANTRA system will overcome these limitations by establishing a close connection between the assembly line and the cross-membrane transport; both events are in most natural processes spatially separated and this reduces efficiency. First, I will design the most optimal ways to anchor part of the assembly line to the cell membrane by using a fluorescent test protein. Next, I will evaluate my strategies in two ‘real-life’ situations: Improved sugar uptake by yeast to give higher alcohol yields and improved export of bio-based polymer building blocks. MANTRA will be designed to be broadly applicable to various industrial biotechnological processes. As a result, the production yield of various valuable compounds could be largely increased.