Optimized esterase biocatalysts for cost-effective industrial production (OPTIBIOCAT)
Research Project , 2013 – 2017

OPTIBIOCAT is a 48 months project aimed at developing biocatalysts based on feruloyl esterases (FAEs) and glucuronoyl esterases (GEs) for production of phenolic fatty- and sugar- esters with antioxidant activity for cosmetic industry, expanding the number/type of industrial biotransformations. Selected FAEs and GEs available within the consortium will be improved for their thermo- and solvent- resistance and substrate specificity by site-directed mutagenesis and directed evolution. Novel enzymes will be discovered by mining for new genes from available genomes. An inventory of novel FAEs and GEs will be developed including 50 fungal and 500 bacterial esterases, 25 site-directed and 20 directed evolved mutants. Enzymatic performances will be optimized to enhance the yield (up to the theoretical yield of 100%) and productivity (up to 0.5-1 g/l/h) of reactions giving the main targeted antioxidants: butyl ferulate, p-coumarate, caffeate, sinapate and 5-O-(trans-feruloyl)-arabinofuranose (using FAEs), glucuronate and benzyl glucuronate (using GEs). FAEs and GEs will be also tested for production of other compounds with improved biological activity and properties of hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity for cosmetic applications. Cost-effective methods will be developed for production of the new biocatalysts, in the g/L scale, and for their technical application to produce antioxidants for cosmetic industry, up to 20L. Enzyme immobilization will increase their recyclability up to ten cycles. The ability of the developed catalysts to work in conditions miming the industrial ones with reduced use of solvents and lower temperature than the chemical routes will be demonstrated. The techno-economic viability and environmental friendliness will be assessed considering a full industrial scale scenario. OPTIBIOCAT involves a highly skilled and multidisciplinary partnership of 16 partners from 8 EU countries, and it is a strongly industry driven project through the participation of 8 SMEs and 1 large company.


Lisbeth Olsson (contact)

Industrial biotechnology

Sun-Li Chong

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Silvia Hüttner

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology



Berlin, Germany

Clea Technologies Bv

Delft, Netherlands

Dyadic Nederland Bv

Wageningen, Netherlands

Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie Van Wetenschappen - Knaw

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Korres S.A. Natural Products (Korres Anonimi Eteria Fysika Proionta)

Inofyta, Greece

Luleå University of Technology

Luleå, Sweden

National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA)

Paris, France

Nzytech Lda

Lisboa, Portugal

Proteonic Bv

Leiden, Netherlands

Servicexs Bv

Leiden, Netherlands

Supren Gmbh

Dortmund, Germany

Taros Chemicals Gmbh & Co Kg

Dortmund, Germany

University of Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland

University of Münster

Münster, Germany

University of Naples Federico II

Napoli, Italy


European Commission (EC)

Project ID: EC/FP7/613868
Funding Chalmers participation during 2013–2017

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces


Areas of Advance


Areas of Advance

Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)

Areas of Advance


More information

Project Web Page


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