Innovation is crucial to fulfil the potential of industrial biotechnology for sustainable production of fuels, chemicals, materials, food and feed. Similarly, scientific and technological advances in environmental biotechnology are needed to enable novel approaches to water purification, and ‘waste-to-product’ processes thus contributing to a circular economy. Increased fundamental knowledge encompassing enzymes, microorganisms and processes are essential for progress in this field. The Department of Biotechnology covers this research area and, based on new insights, selects, designs and tests new biobased catalysts, micro-organisms, and processes.
The department encompasses five research sections:
28 June 2022
Baker’s yeast with human muscle genesBiotechnologist Pascale Daran-Lapujade and her group at Delft University of Technology managed to build human muscle genes in the DNA of baker’s yeast. This is the first time researchers have successfully placed such a vital human feature into a yeast cell.
28 June 2022
7.4 million euros for research into products from wastewaterShowering, cleaning, flushing toilets, and industrial production are all processes that use a great deal of water. But what happens to the waste in the water, to everything that is flushed away and disappears into the sewer system together with the water?
26 April 2022
ERC Advanced Grant for chemical dream reactions with enzymesOne of the big societal challenges today, is that the chemical industry still consumes a considerable amount of energy and resources. “This is a global issue for most, if not all, chemicals that factories produce nowadays”, says researcher Frank Hollmann. He has received a 2.5 M€ ERC Advanced Grant from the European Union to help tackle this problem over the next five years, by engineering enzymes as a catalyst for chemical reactions.
11 September 2019
Cable bacteria: Living electrical wires with record conductivityBacteria that power themselves using electricity and are able to send electrical currents over long distances through highly conductive power lines. It almost sounds like the way we charge our TVs and refrigerators, and may seem hard to believe, but it is a recent discovery by a team of scientists from the University of Antwerp (Belgium), Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) and the University of Hasselt (Belgium). Centimeter-long bacteria from the seafloor contain a conductive fiber network that operates in comparable way to the copper wiring that we use to transport electricity. The highly conductive fibers enable a completely new interface between biology and electronics, providing a prospect for new materials and technology.
18 July 2019