SEAfood WAste Valorization by oxidative metalloEnzymes
Partecipanti al progetto
Descrizione del progetto
The long-term goal of the SEA-WAVE project is the development of a platform based on metal-dependent oxidative enzymes for the conversion of recalcitrant substrates from abundant marine waste biomass into low-carbon second generation biofuels. Achieving such goal would provide a long-lasting energy supply from a waste biomass thereby contributing to the transition to a smart and sustainable economic growth. Second generation biofuels are made from non-edible biomasses, at variance with first generation biofuels that rely on starch and sugar, which are both food sources.
The biomass made up of seafood waste materials, such as crustacean shells, fish bones and scales, is rich in the polysaccharide chitin, which can be depolymerized by bacterial lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) to simple sugars, to be eventually fermented to alcohols. The fatty acid component of this biomass can be converted into alkanes/alkenes through decarboxylation that is performed by a class of bacterial cytochromes P450 (CYP152).
To end up with the final goal, SEA-WAVE has identified the following fundamental objectives:
i) production of recombinant LPMO and CYP mutants, along with artificial peptide-based models;
ii) characterization, at a molecular level, of the substrate binding to the protein active site;
iii) detailed kinetic studies and evaluation of the catalytic mechanism;
iv) optimization of engineered and artificial enzymes in terms of stability and functionality under different working conditions.
Optimization will be performed through rounds of MD-DFT simulations - rational design - protein expression and/or synthesis – physicochemical/biochemical measurements. These fundamental studies will allow producing metal-dependent oxidative enzymes, optimized for application in waste transformation. Each objective is tackled through different and interconnected tasks, grouped into work-packages (WPs), each involving several partners. SEA-WAVE is also committed to disseminate research and recruit and instruct young investigators. SEA-WAVE is proposed by a national consortium of four research groups involving chemists, biochemists, computational and theoretical chemists, with a strong background in the investigation of the structure, mechanism and physicochemical properties of metalloenzymes. Experimental and theoretical know-how, instrumentation and technologies encompass electrochemistry, calorimetry, electron paramagnetic resonance, nuclear magnetic resonance, crystallography, molecular biology, protein design, peptide synthesis, quantum mechanics and molecular dynamics. To our knowledge, it will constitute the first national consortium devoted to fundamental and applied research on a concerted enzymatic degradative approach to convert marine waste in low-carbon fuels, an issue with great implications and impact on the sustainability of the world’s energy demand.