Enzymatic deconstruction of microbial polysaccharide networks
Research Project, 2021 – 2024

Polysaccharide networks have an enormous impact on human life and nature as a whole. The cell walls of fungi and biofilms represent such complex networks that are tightly linked to diseases and other major issues in society. A majority of bacterial infections in humans are related to bacteria residing in protective biofilms, and invasive fungal infections have a very high mortality rate, especially for immune-compromised individuals. Both types of infections are also very difficult to treat. In the biofilm referred to as dental plaque, which affects over a third of the world’s population, as well as in fungal cell walls, insoluble polysaccharides are found as key structural components. These polysaccharides are not made by human cells, and thus represent a target to disrupt using enzymatic means. In this project, the goal is to greatly deepen the knowledge of enzymes able to act on these structures through a combination of biochemical and structural studies. We will also use novel biochemical tools to combine the enzymes with other enzyme types targeting other parts of the biofilms/cell walls, to probe intramolecular synergies similar to what has been demonstrated in degradation of complex plant cell walls.


Johan Larsbrink (contact)

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Industrial Biotechnology

Lars Evenäs

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry

Tove Widén

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Industrial Biotechnology


Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Stockholm, Sweden

University of Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden


Swedish Research Council (VR)

Project ID: 2020-03618
Funding Chalmers participation during 2021–2024

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)


Health Engineering

Areas of Advance

Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)

Areas of Advance

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