Applied biocatalysis

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course is aimed to provide to the students the basic knowledge necessary to develop a bioprocess based on the application of enzymes and/or microbial cells, which needs to gather tools across different biotechnological techniques. Specific objects of the course are the following:
- Learning how to apply the biotechnological techniques learned during the first year of the master degree for the evolution of enzymes or microbial cells into efficient biocatalysts;
- Learning from consolidated and/or more innovative and recent successful examples on how a biocatalytic process is developed and optimized;
- Assessing the most suited technologies for intensifying a biocatalytic process
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will know why biocatalyses is strategic for the bioeconomy in a bio-based industry context. The student will be familiar with the essential steps in the development of biocatalytic processes from concept to completion, by the application of the best suited methodologies (protein engineering, metabolic engineering, immobilization, continuous processes) to develop an innovative biocatalytic process of industrial interest. The focus will be on bioprocesses relevant in the agri-food and bioenergy fields.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
- Introduction to biocatalysis: why? how? The myth and the reality (0.5 CFU);
- Biocatalysis: how enzymes work (0.5 CFU);
- Biocatalysis at work: biotransformation of feedstocks into added-value molecules (0.5 CFU);
- Enzyme discovery and high throughput fermentation (0.5 CFU);
- Biocatalyst preparation (0.5 CFU):
- whole cells or isolated enzymes?
- immobilization;
- Techniques in biocatalysis: how biocatalysts can be improved? (1.0 CFU);
- protein engineering, directed evolution
- metabolic engineering
- Examples of industrial biocatalytic processes (1.0 CFU);
- Biocatalytic reactor design and operation (0.50 CFU);
- Lab practice (1.00 CFU)
Prerequisites for admission
The course should be attended by students after the first semester, when courses concerning molecular methodologies, fermentation, and structure and function of biomolecules are given.
You can contact the teacher to obtain indications about texts and bibliographic references that can be studied to fill eventual knowledge gaps.
Teaching methods
Lessons (5 CFU)
Laboratory (1 CFU)
Teaching Resources
Notes and monographs made available by the teacher
Assessment methods and Criteria
The student will be assessed through an oral presentation of a case-study chosen and selected with the teacher and after a discussion (20 minutes) which will encompass different issues and topics discussed during the course. You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
Laboratories: 8 hours
Lessons: 44 hours
Educational website(s)
by personal appointment
via mangiagalli 25, DiSTAM buidling, third floor