Group Leader/s



The scientific objectives of the group 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.

Hydrolytic enzymes for industrial and environmental applications

The research line led by Mª Jesús Martinez aims to understand key aspects of the catalytic action of fungal hydrolases involved in the biodegradation or biotransformation of lignocelluloses and lipids, emphasizing on versatile lipases, cellulases and hemicellulases. These basic aspects entail in-depth biochemical, physic-chemical and structural characterization of the enzymes, structure-function studies, and use of computational and bioinformatics tools.

The outcomes from these experimental approaches are essential to explain and improve the catalytic and/or operational properties of the proteins when subjected to industrial and environmental applications based on the exploitation of residual plant biomass and other wastes as renewable feedstock from agriculture, industry and other human activities. These tasks are currently gathered in two projects, HIDROFUN and RETO-PROSOST.

The most relevant biotechnological applications of our research are related to the enzymatic production of second generation bioethanol and biodiesel and added-value products, as prebiotic oligosaccharides, lipid or sugar derivatives with enhanced solubility and biological activity, flavors and fragrances. In all of them, biocatalysis replaces chemical reagents, sometimes releases products that cannot be synthesized chemically, and contributes to the development of green and sustainable processes.

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


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


Engineering of oxidative enzymes

The research line led by Angel T. Martínez is related to protein (redox enzymes) design and their utilization in oxidative chemical reactions of industrial interest, as those explored in the INDOX ( and EnzOx2 ( EU projects. Our work in these two projects focuses on proteins of the (i) heme-peroxidase, (ii) multicopper oxidases and (iii) flavo-oxidase types, as Green Chemistry catalysts for different oxidation and oxyfunctionalization reactions of industrial interest.

The enzyme engineering work takes advantage from: i) Computational simulations of protein-ligand interactions (computational biophysics) and quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) to predict the electron transfer (computational biochemistry), in a well-established collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (; ii) Analytical chemistry at CIB (MS, NMR, etc) and in collaboration with IRNAS in Seville (; and iii) Genomic information on fungi responsible for "enzymatic combustion" of lignin (the second more abundant macromolecule on earth) including projects with the Joint Genome Institute ( like CSP-2015-1609, coordinated from CIB, for analyzing 32 fungal genomes.


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


Enzyme 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



Research lines


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Martínez AT, Ruiz-Dueñas FJ, Camarero S, Serrano A, Linde D, Lund H, Vind J, Tovborg M, Herold-Majumdar OM, Hofrichter M, Liers C, Ullrich R, Scheibner K, Sannia G, Piscitelli A, Pezzella C, Sener ME, Kılıç S, van Berkel WJ, Guallar V, Lucas F, Zuhse R, Ludwig R, Hollmann F, Fernandez-Fueyo E, Record E, Faulds CB, Tortajada M, Winckelmann I, Rasmussen J, Gelo-Pujic M, Gutiérrez A, del Río JC, Rencoret J, Alcalde M  [2017]. Oxidoreductases on their way to industrial biotransformations. Biotechnol. Adv. 35: 815-831



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) “Extremozymes for wood based building blocks: From pulp mill to board and insulation products” (WoodZymes) EC H2020, Coordinator S. Camarero, Ref H2020-BBI-JTI-2017-792070, Total funding 3253873 €; CIB 738340 € (2018-21),

2) “Development and pilot production of SUStainable bio BINDer systems for wood based panels” (SusBind), EC H2020, Coordinator A.T. Martínez, Ref H2020-BBI-JTI-2017-792063; Total funding 4414418 €; CIB 756170 € (2018-22)

3) "Basidiomycete genomes for lignocellulose biorefineries" (GENOBIOREF), PIs F.J. Ruiz-Dueñas/S. Camarero, MINECO/FEDER (BIO2017-86559-R) Funding 302500 € (2018-22)

4) “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),

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

6) "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)

7) "New oxidative enzymes for sustainable industries" (NOESIS), PIs: S. Camarero/F.J. Ruiz-Dueñas, MINECO (BIO2014-56388-R). Funding: 302500 € (2015-18)

8) "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),

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

"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),

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

"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,

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,



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