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Coldzymes: Cold-active enZymes

Project: Research

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In many industrial processes, enzymes are attractive, green alternatives to chemicals. Today, enzymes are key ingredients in many products like food, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and detergents, and the enzyme market for detergents alone has become a multibillion dollar industry worldwide. For decades, it has been a goal for producers of detergent enzymes to develop cold-active enzymes due to their performance at low-temperature resulting in significant reduction in energy consumption and costs. Development of cold-active enzymes is currently approached in two ways: Protein engineering of well-known commercial mesophilic enzymes or de novo discovery of cold-active enzymes from the environment.
The Coldzymes project is driven by the wish to make an impact. Therefore we wish to discover novel, truly cold-active enzymes with potentially uncharacterized structures and adaptations to activity at low temperature. The project aims at developing and improving methods for discovery of truly cold-active enzymes used in detergents for laundry and washing processes at low temperature. In order to search for truly cold-active enzymes, we have chosen to investigate the potential of the microbiome of the ikaite columns in the Ikka Fjord in SW Greenland. The ikaite columns have been shown to habor a large diversity of bacteria, and with their internal pH of 10.4 and year-round low temperature, the ikaite columns are the perfect place to search cold-active enzymes that are active at high pH.
Two approaches to screen for novel enzymes will be applied in this project: Function-based sceening through increased culturability and sequence-based screening through improved DNA extraction methods. Sequencing of cultured microorganisms as well as DNA extracted directly from the ikaite columns is carried out by our in-house Sequencing Center using state-of-the-art sequencing platforms.
The outcome of Coldzymes will be a range of new, cold-active and alkali-stable enzymes that are active in detergents that may feed into a larger innovation-based project involving commercial as well as scientific partners.
Effective start/end date01/01/202030/06/2023

ID: 296624676