In Austria, researchers at the University of Graz’s Institute of Chemistry are using enzymes and cyanobacteria to create biocatalysts. The project, dubbed PhotoBioCat, is looking at model reactions to produce chemicals for polymers, cosmetics, and medicines.
To date, cyanobacteria have been used to produce molecules that are expensive and difficult to obtain via alternative routes. However, the researchers hope introducing enzymes will open up new applications.
“If the enzymes are coupled to the photosynthesis of the cyanobacteria, expensive waste and by-products can be avoided and the biotechnological production of chemicals becomes easier, faster and cheaper,” project leader Robert Kourist tells Sciencedaily.com. “However, we know it works in the lab. The big challenge now is to transfer the process to an industrial scale,” says Kourist.