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:
23 December 2021
Super-fast technique measures heme enzyme reaction as it happensResearchers from TU Delft found an unexpected new enzyme intermediate at work in enzymes that contain heme, a cofactor that’s vital for many processes in our body such as the breaking down of toxins in the liver. The researchers used new, rapid techniques, which are less invasive than existing methods. The results, published in ACS Catalysis, increase our understanding of heme proteins and enzymes and how they can be engineered.
27 October 2021
Making artificial leather while processing wastewaterLeather is a strong product but has been getting bad press lately due to the fact that it is made of animal skins and the production process is a burden on the environment. The TU Delft student team WaterSkins has come up with a very sustainable alternative: artificial leather made during the treatment of wastewater.
06 August 2021
New yeast species could make biotechnology more sustainableYeasts usually need oxygen to reproduce. However, researchers at TU Delft have now come across a highly unusual species of yeast that is capable of rapid growth even without oxygen. How does it do that? By replacing an essential component of the normal yeast cell with a surrogate molecule. In theory, this discovery could make the industrial production of beer and biofuels using yeasts more sustainable and efficient. The results of this study have been published in the scientific journal PNAS.
07 January 2021
ERC Proof of Concept grant for Frank HollmannFrank Hollmann (Biotechnology) has been awarded a Proof of Concept grant by the European Research Council. He is one of 55 ERC grant holders that are set to receive top-up funding to explore the commercial or innovation potential of the results of their EU-funded research.
17 December 2020
Delft researchers chart the potential risks of 'free-floating DNA'We don’t realize it, but loose strands of DNA end up in nature via our wastewater. As of yet, it is unclear how much this 'free-floating DNA' impacts environmental and public health. Researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have now found a way to determine just how much potentially harmful DNA ends up in our wastewater. They have developed a method that can isolate such ‘free floating DNA’ from wastewater, which gives them the means to determine the extent of the problem. The results of their work will officially be printed in Water Research in February 2021, but have already been pre-published online.
16 December 2020