Centre for Enzyme Innovation
At the Centre for Enzyme Innovation, we're researching solutions to some of the most pressing global environmental problems.
Learning from the natural world, we are working to deliver transformative enzyme-enabled solutions for the circular recycling of plastics.
Following a £5.8 million award from the Research England Expanding Excellence Fund in 2019, and a £1m award from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership in 2020, we're creating new state-of-the-art facilities and recruiting specialist researchers from across the world to join our team.
We currently have 30 scientists covering a wide range of disciplines including microbiology, molecular biophysics, biochemistry, enzyme engineering and synthetic biology, biotechnology, and more recently, polymer chemistry.
Hosted in our new custom laboratories, we have the expertise and facilities required to help tackle the challenge of plastic pollution and develop enzyme-based low energy, low carbon, biorecycling solutions.
Our research sits at the interface between enzymes and polymers with a focus on both pure and applied research in biocatalysis. We are expanding our research and innovation activities to address the diverse range of plastics, including mixed waste streams and composites, materials that are often incinerated or end up in landfill and leak to the environment.
Our research is divided into 4 areas
- Discover new enzymes from the environment that break down plastics
- Engineer these enzymes to enhance their activity, stability and yield
- Deploy enzymes by pilot scale fermentation and industry-ready formulations
- Apply these enzymes in proof-of-concept biorecycling and upcycling processes
How we work
The pipeline allows for the streamlined development of enzymes from discovery through to recycling applications.
Enzymes break down waste plastic polymers into building blocks that are purified and re-polymerised, allowing infinite recycling of the materials as part of a circular plastics economy.
Recent research outputs
Alice Newton, John Icely, Sónia Cristina, G E Perillo, R. Eugene Turner, Dewan Ahsan, Professor Simon Cragg, Yongming Luo, Chen Tu, Yuan Li & 13 others, 7 Jul 2020, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 8, 144.
Charlotte E. Mardle, Layla Goddard, Bailei Claude Spelman, Helen S. Atkins, Miss Louise Butt, Dr Paul Cox, Dr Darren Gowers, Dr Helen Vincent & Professor Anastasia Callaghan, 9 Jun 2020, Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports. 23, 100773.
Dr Ian Hendy, Owen Burt, Sarah Clough, Laura Young & Professor Simon Cragg, 5 Mar 2020, In : Marine Ecology Progress Series. 637, p. 103-116 14 p.
Teredinibacter waterburyi sp. nov., a marine, cellulolytic endosymbiotic bacterium isolated from the gills of the wood-boring mollusc Bankia setacea (Bivalvia: Teredinidae) and emended description of the genus Teredinibacter
Marvin A. Altamia, Dr Reuben Shipway, David Stein, Meghan A. Betcher, Jennifer M. Fung, Guillaume Jospin, Jonathan Eisen, Margo G. Haygood & Daniel L. Distel, 20 Feb 2020, In : International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 7 p.
Researchers from the Centre for Enzyme Innovation receive funding from a wide range of external sources, including the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the National Environment Research Council (NERC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the European Commission, Innovate UK, Diamond Light Source, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Johnson Matthey.