During the month of October 2022, BIZENTE held a scientific workshop with the Aragonese Foundation for Research and Development (ARAID). The main objective of the event was to present the BIZENTE project to a specialised audience such as the different principal investigators of the ARAID programme and to promote circular economy projects with a strong presence in Aragon.
Moreover, within the context of the transition towards a more sustainable industry, the use of biocatalysts is of special relevance and the usefulness of this technology was highlighted. Several researchers showed interest in the basis of directed evolution, which is key to adapting biocatalysts for use in industrial processes, and especially in the different strategies for introducing mutations that are being implemented in this project, such as morphing or site-saturation mutagenesis. Santiago Ramón García, from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Zaragoza, was interested in the use of different hosts for the overexpression of the enzymes of interest. Jonas Gurauskis, ARAID researcher at the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Aragón (ICMA, CSIC), showed interest in the use of PETases for the degradation of microplastics. Alberto Jiménez Schuhmacher from the Aragon Health Research Institute Foundation (IIS ARAGON), asked about the possibility of resurrecting ancestral enzymes for use in the project.
The presentation gave an introduction to the project, the problems it seeks to solve and explained the role of each of the partners in the consortium. This was followed by a brief introduction to enzymes, their importance in the industry of the future and the fundamentals of directed evolution. Finally, the most relevant advances so far in the evolution of cutinases for the degradation of polyester resins and the future perspectives of the project were presented.