Powerful novel enzymes for greener consumer products – OXIPRO has arrived
A multidisciplinary team of researchers and stakeholders from 15 entities across Europe came together on 14th June to launch OXIPRO: a four-year initiative focusing on the development of novel enzymes for environment-friendly consumer products.
In the green shift towards zero carbon emissions and environment-friendly products, biotechnology is proving once again that it is a key enabler in increasing sustainability and employment, yet there is much to be discovered and developed. A perceived willingness of consumers to pay more for greener products is the impetus for solutions to current high energy consumptions and the use of hazardous chemicals in product development.
One such solution is the development and use of enzymes – and specifically oxidoreductases – in industrial applications.
Oxidoreductases are an underexploited class of enzymes offering environmental-friendly alternatives to their chemical counterparts, displaying potential to reduce pollution, replacing harmful oxidants and acids, transforming waste into valuable products, and enhancing product functionalities, while reducing processing costs in the formulation and production of consumer products. Importantly, they are a game-changer in the shift to greener production.
Funded by the EU H2020 programme with a total budget of 6M€, the OXIPRO partners will collaborate in a dynamic research effort to develop and deploy an efficient oxidoreductase foundry using cutting-edge bioinformatics and biotechnology.
By broadening the range of industrial oxidoreductases for more sustainable processes, this will ultimately contribute to the transition to environment-friendly products, with detergents, textiles, sunscreens, and nutraceuticals being the main project targets.
Through the integration of computational workflows and state-of-the-art biotechnological technologies, OXIPRO will expedite the lab to market journey, while shortcutting downstream implementation and ensuring market uptake. This will be supported by ecosystem intelligence generated throughout the project as well as engagement with research, policy, societal and industrial actors in co-creation and interactions to maximise output and enable faster and systemic innovations.
Dr. Gro Bjerga, Scientific Leader of the Marine Biotechnology group at NORCE and OXIPRO Project Coordinator, said: “Environmental concerns of consumers is a strong driver for investigating new solutions to promote sustainability in production and formulation of products. Knowing how enzymes can cut energy, water and chemical consumption, is encouraging us to explore yet new enzyme types for use in consumer products. We believe that this is not only providing better product options, but also stimulating long-term competitiveness in industry and creating new jobs for Europe”.