- Research fields of the institute
A major and common field of research interests comprises of Metabolic pathways of microorganisms (Escherichia coli, Corynebacterium glutamicum) leading to valuable low molecular weight compounds, e.g. aromatic amino acids such as L-phenylalanine or L-tryptophan and other derivatives of the Shikimic acid pathway, sugars and oligosaccharides) and of asymmetric building blocks for organic syntheses which otherwise are difficult to obtain. As well, we investigate polymerization and depolymerization of biopolymers (polyhydroxybutyrate PHB, polyphosphate, natural rubber) and the role of granula (consisting of PHB or polyphosphates) in the cell biology of bacteria.
C-C bonding enzymes such as aldolases/transaldolases and thiamine diphosphate-dependent lyase as transketolase or MenD are in use to deliver interesting novel compounds for organic syntheses. Besides in vitro approaches, we also use whole cell biotransformations. .
Research on structure-function relationships is a common researcg interest of the enzymes we use. Among others, we look into various dioxygenases, microbial nitrilases and nitrile hydratases for the stereoselective synthesis of valuable compounds.
Our arsenal of research methods comprises of cloning, overexpression and targeted mutagenesis of microbial genes. Next, we purify and characterize the recombinant enzymes; furthermore, metabolite analytics is performed by chromatography methods such as GC, TLC, FPLC, and HPLC.