New Biomaterials for Non-Aqueous Biocatalysis
Research in the Brogan Group aims to develop new enzyme-based biotechnologies to help us move to a more sustainable, renewable, economy. The major project in the group is the development of solvent-free liquid proteins as a novel biomaterial for the deployment of enzymes in industrially relevant solvent systems. The secondary project in the group is the design and synthesis of ionic liquid infiltrated polymer networks, “ionogels”, as versatile soft materials for biocatalysis.
This new class of biomaterial has been shown to be a promising new technology where enzymes have been stabilized in non-aqueous environments. Using a variety of spectroscopic and scattering techniques, these novel biomaterials have been shown to allow for extreme enzyme thermal stability, stability against aggregation, and retained dynamics and enzymatic function all in the absence of water.
Recently, we showed that protein-polymer surfactant nanoconjugates are soluble in both hydrophilic and hydrophobic ionic liquids, and demonstrated that biomolecule architecture can be preserved in the non-aqueous environment. Recent results involving the enzyme glucosidase demonstrated that the enzyme had significantly improved activity at 120 °C, and importantly, activity towards water insoluble cellulose.
Projects in this area will focus on expanding the scope of these materials to new enzymes and processes, particularly plastic recycling.
A. P. S. Brogan, L. Bui-Le, J. P. Hallett, Nat. Chem. 2018, 10, 859-865.
A. P. S. Brogan, J. P. Hallett, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 4494–4501.
A. P. S. Brogan, K. P. Sharma, A. W. Perriman, and S. Mann, Nat. Commun., 2014, 5, 5058.
Ionic liquid gel systems, or ‘ionogels’, are an exciting new set of materials that combine the properties of traditional hydrogels with the interesting and highly versatile properties of ionic liquids. These novel systems, are as of yet, relatively understudied, particularly with their potential as supports for biocatalysts.
Projects will involve the synthesis of ionogels with a number of functional components, including enzymes. The focus of the initial work will be to assess thermal stability and solvent stability of the gels, and how they impact simple biocatalytic cascades.