Harvesting the natural bounty of Iceland’s volcanoes – Enzymes from Iceland help revolutionise industrial processes involving carbohydrates.
Scientists searched the genomes of microbes in Iceland’s volcanic regions to find candidate enzymes for industrial use. Surviving harsh conditions and temperatures in the wild could be beneficial in the factory as well. The project was funded under FP7-KBBE and selected as a RTD Success Story.
The discovery and extraction of enzymes found among the volcanoes of Iceland could lead to more efficient and greener industrial processes. A number of these enzymes have already been patented, ushering in a new generation of biocatalysts.
Iceland’s dramatic volcanic landscape continues to inspire and enthral locals, tourists and scientists alike and remains one of the best places on earth to study geothermal energy (heat energy generated and stored in the earth). The beautiful terrain also happens to be teeming with microscopic enzymes tailored to cope with these harsh conditions. A group of EU-funded scientists wanted to discover whether some of these tough enzymes could be used to improve industrial processes that turn carbohydrates into consumer products.
“The underlying aim of AMYLOMICS has been to help increase economic growth and sustainability of European industry by improving the efficiency of these bioconversion processes,” explains project coordinator Gudmundur Oli Hreggvidsson, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Iceland and head of the Biotechnology Section at Matis. “The technology developed in this project has enabled the rapid retrieval of novel gene-encoding enzymes from extreme resources, for a variety of uses.
For more information please contact Guðmundur Óli Hreggviðsson, project manager at Matís.