Group Leader

 

intro

Our scientific objectives are related to the use of microorganisms (mainly filamentous fungi) and their enzymes in industrial processes to obtain fuels, materials and chemicals (White Biotechnology) from renewable plant resources. The final aim is to contribute to the sustainable development of our society and reduce the biosphere warming by a reduced consumption of fossil resources. 

The work of the group has provided important contributions to the knowledge of the enzymatic system involved in the degradation of lignocellulose by fungi, with lignin decay representing a key step for carbon recycling in land ecosystems and a central issue in the industrial use of plant biomass in agreement with the Biorefinery concept (for the integrated production of fuels, chemicals and other products).

According to these results, the most recent studies combine basic (enzyme biochemistry and structure-function relationships) and more applied (protein engineering and biotechnological applications) aspects to be developed in the frame of the IPSBB unit of CIB.

A) Basic projects on biochemistry and structure-function of key enzymes involved in lignocellulose biodegradation (to improve their catalytic properties) including: i) Ligninolytic hemeperoxidases, like versatile peroxidase (VP); ii) Flavooxidases providing peroxide, like aryl-alcohol oxidase (AAO); iii) Multicopper oxidases like laccases (and their redox mediators); iv) Esterases/lipases with different substrate specificities; and v) Other hydrolases of interest, such as cellulases and xylanases

esterase
Crystal structure of a fungal versatile sterol esterase/lipase which catalyzes efficiently esterification and transesterification reactions

 

pele
Enzyme engineering combining (1) biophysical (substrate dynamic diffusion) and (2) biochemical (QM/MM electron transfer) modeling (adapted from Acebes et al 2016)

B) More applied projects related to the use of fungi and their enzymes, new or improved by rational design or directed evolution, in industrial or environmental biotechnological applications such as those related to the lignocellulose biorefineries for: i) Production of second generation bioethanol; and ii) Sustainable production of chemicals and materials (potential ways of valorization of the lipidic fraction of industrial residues are also studied)

 

engineering

Enzyme engineering for industrial application: left, general scheme of directed evolution strategy (Pardo & Camarero, 2015); right, rational design of a multicopper oxidase on the T1-copper site after multiple sequence comparison

 

mill
Enzymes are being used as industrial biocatalysts (as an alternative to harsh chemicals) for the development of clean technologies (courtesy of UPM, Finland)

 

 

 

Research lines

 

Carro J, Ferreira P, Rodríguez L, Prieto A, Serrano A, Balcells B, Ardá A, Jiménez-Barbero J, Gutiérrez A, Ullrich R, Hofrichter M, Martínez AT  [2015]. 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural conversion by fungal aryl-alcohol oxidase and unspecific peroxygenase. FEBS J. 282: 3218-29

 

Funding

The public (including EU, MINECO-Spain and CAM-Madrid) and private (contracts with companies) financial sources are included in the list provided below, which includes: i) Project or Contract title, ii) Responsible (or coordinator); iii) Funding; iv) Funding entity and reference; and v) Duration.

A. The projects currently in course are listed below:

1) “New enzymatic oxidation/oxyfunctionalization technologies for added value bio-based products” (EnzOx2), EC H2020, Coordinator A.T. Martínez, PI-CIB F.J. Ruiz-Dueñas, Ref H2020-BBI-PPP-2015-2-720297, Total funding 3000000 €; CIB 606000 € (2016-19), www.enzox2.eu

2) "Fungal hydrolases: biochemical and molecular studies and applications for lignocellulosic waste revalorization" (HIDROFUN), PIs M.J. Martínez/A. Prieto, MINECO (BIO2015-68387-R), Funding 199650 € (2016-18)

3) "Sustainable production and industrial symbiosis in the Community of Madrid" (RETO-PROSOST) PI: MJ Martinez (S2013/MAE-2907), Total funding 694950 €, CIB 179860 € (2014-2018)

4) "New oxidative enzymes for sustainable industries" (NOESIS), PIs: S. Camarero/F.J. Ruiz-Dueñas, MINECO (BIO2014-56388-R). Funding: 302500 € (2015-17)

5) "Combined approaches based on metagenomics for biofuels synthesis" (CAMBIOS), PI M.J. Martínez, MINECO (RTC2014-1777-3). Funding: 95742 € (2014-17)

6) "Enzymatic, chemical and engineering challenges for the use of non-food agroforestal resources (lignocellulose) in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly bioeconomy" (network LIGNOCEL), Coordinator S. Camarero, Ref AC2015-00008-00-00, funding 6000 € (2016), www.redlignocel.es

7) "Optimized oxidoreductases for medium and large scale industrial biotransformations" (INDOX), EC FP7, Coordinator A.T. Martínez, PI-CIB F.J. Ruiz-Dueñas, Ref KBBE-2013-7-613549, total funding 7825824 €: CIB 928654 € (2013-16), www.indoxproject.eu

B. Other relevant (EU or large National) previous projects on related topics:

"Novel and more robust fungal peroxidases as industrial biocatalysts" (PEROXICATS), FP7, Coordinator A.T. Martínez, PI-CIB F.J. Ruiz-Dueñas, Ref KBBE-2010-4-265397, total funding 2 999 350 euros: CIB 732 114 euros, 2011-13, www.peroxicats.org

Optimised pre-treatment of fast growing woody and nonwoody Brazilian crops by detailed characterisation of chemical changes produced in the lignin-carbohydrate matrix” (LIGNODECO), FP7, PI-CSIC A.T. Martínez, Ref KBBE-2009-3-244362, total funding 2 988 220 euros; CIB 451 250 euros, 2010-2012

"High-performance biocatalysts for second generation bioethanol" (BIOCAT2ndOL), one of the six sub-projects of the project on "Production and development of non-food energetic cultures" asigned to CSIC by the MICINN (as a part of the Spanish PlanE) with a total budeget of 8 512 507 euros; PI-CIB M.J. Martínez; 2009-2011

"Ethanol for automotion" (I+DEA); Coordinator: P. Gutiérrez (Abengoa Bioenergy); CIB-PI: M.J. Martínez; total budget (including contributions from 25 companies) 28 million euros; CIB funding 646 000 euros; CDTI, CENIT 2007-1031; 2007-2011

White biotechnology for added value products from renewable plant polymers: Design of tailor-made biocatalysts and new industrial bioprocesses” (BIORENEW); A.T. Martínez (coordinator); total budget: 14 683 137 euros: total EU contribution: 9 500 000 euros; EU contribution to CIB: 1 012 388 euros; Priority-3 (NMP) of EU FP6, NMP2-CT-2006-026456; 2006-2010, www.biorenew.org

 

 

Fellowships and jobs

 

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