Development of Industrial Enzymes

Since the beginning of 2012, our group has been developing C-type Phospholipases to be used in the enzymatic degumming of crude soybean oil. Oil degumming consists of the removal of phospholipids or “gums” and is the process that generates the greatest loss associated with industrial oil refining.

We have developed two enzymes (PC-PLC and PI-PLC) that used together achieve the hydrolysis of 90% of the phospholipids present in crude soybean oil, achieving a higher efficiency in the removal of phospholipids and therefore obtaining a higher quality oil with higher yield. We have carried out tests with these enzymes in collaboration with oil industries in the region and have demonstrated their efficiency in enzymatic degumming.

We are currently working on the development of other enzymes with greater thermostability. Obtaining an enzyme with greater stability will facilitate its industrial use and may contribute to expand the use of enzymatic degumming to replace traditional chemical methods.

Our platforms for discovery and development of new enzymes include the use of bioinformatics analysis for candidate selection, expression of selected proteins in different hosts, obtaining purified proteins, targeted mutagenesis and enzyme activity assays in aqueous media and water/oil emulsions.

In all cases, the developments of this group are accompanied by a rigorous intellectual property analysis to ensure the capture of the results obtained for their subsequent transfer to adopting companies.

Laboratory Members

  • Luciana Paoletti
  • Sebastian Cerminati
  • Lorena Willa
  • Camila Ponce de Leon


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