NSERC Industrial Biocatalysis Network

Funding Details
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Grant type: Strategic Network Grants Program
  • Years: 2014/15 to 2018/19
  • Total Funding: $5,150,000
Keywords
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Project Summary

Oil and gas are converted to plastics, chemicals, and other industrial and consumer products through energy-intensive manufacturing processes. These products would be more environmentally sustainable if they were made from renewable resources, such as agricultural and forestry waste, and if they were manufactured using processes that use less energy. One such process is biocatalysis, in which microorganisms produce commodity chemicals, plastics, nutraceuticals and other products using natural or engineered enzymes, much as bacteria already make cheese and yogurt from milk.Genomics research projects are revealing thousands - possibly millions - of new enzymes, but our limited understanding of enzyme processes has hampered their more widespread use in industry thus far. The NSERC Industrial Biocatalysis Network (IBN) addresses this problem by engaging an outstanding multi-disciplinary team of researchers and leading biotechnology companies to focus on industry-relevant enzymes and biological processes. This coordinated research network will mine the immense datasets generated by three previous Canadian genomics projects for industrial applications.The IBN will reduce the overall environmental impact of manufacturing by discovering new enzymes that catalyze new chemical reactions, and developing industrial microorganisms that synthesize commodity chemicals, plastics, and other valuable products from renewable or low-cost materials. The IBN will target a broad range of industrial applications, including food, animal feed, synthetic chemistry, plastics, mining and forestry. With its abundant natural resources, Canada is well placed to be a leader in the new "bio-economy", and the discoveries made through the IBN will support the growth of the emerging bio-based chemical and materials sector.