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Biocatalytic cascades to access valuable building blocks (Biocascade)
Start date: Jan 15, 2013, End date: Jan 14, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of this project is to provide training in the multidisciplinary fields of organic chemistry, biocatalysis, molecular biology, biochemistry and microbiology to design and develop artificial cascades by combining various types of enzymes such as L-amino acid oxidades, alcohol dehydrogenases and lyases. This is a truly competitive, innovative and timely field in which to work, and for sure the results derived from this cutting-edge project will be published in top ranked journals contributing to European Excellence.The project is expected to make a major contribution to replace traditional chemical manufacturing which relies in highly toxic, expensive and stoichiometric reagents, many steps and toxic solvents with so-called “white biotechnology” which employs powerful natural biocatalysts such as enzymes or whole cell microorganisms that allow the combination of several steps in one-pot without isolation of intermediates (cascade reactions) establishing environmentally benign and sustainable chemical processes for the preparation of optically active valuable compounds and minimizing the wastes. The research project will be divided in three main research objectives: (i) Enzymatic cascades leading to aminoacids to hydroxyacids: Novel enantioselective routes for the preparation of enantiopure hydroxyacids, (ii) Biocatalytic cascades leading to trans-coumaric acid derivatives, (iii) Redox-neutral cascade coupling of lactate to phenol via C-C bond formation. Applications to natural product synthesis.The optimal development of the project is guaranteed by the high quality of the host institution (University of Graz) and the supervisor (Prof. Wolfgang Kroutil). The host institution owns all the facilities and infrastructures that are required for the performance of this interdisciplinary project while Prof. Kroutil is a world-leading scientific in the field of biocatalytic cascade transformations with well established collaborations with world-class researchers.
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