Clariant and Jülich Fine Chemicals Lead Consortium to Investigate Broader Use of Oxynitrilases


As part of its program "Sustainable Bio-production," Germany's Federal Ministry of education & Research has awarded a consortium a grant to study the feasibility of oxynitrilase technologies as a more efficient method to manufacture chiral building block chemicals currently required by the world's pharmaceutical industry. The 2 million EURO project specifically allows Clariant and JFC- Jülich fine chemicals to consider oxynitrilases as biocatalysts that open a broader set of optically highly pure chiral building blocks to more economic manufacturing. The major objective of this research is to leverage the success of oxynitrilase technologies as a method for the manufacture of chiral building block chemicals into other chiral product classes.

As partners in the research project, both Clariant and Jülich Fine Chemicals have elected to combine efforts in broadening the commercial production and application of oxynitrilase technologies as they apply to stereoselective addition of hydrocyanic acid to carbonyl compounds. Included in the research team are professionals from several disciplines. Prof. Kragl of the University of Rostock will support specific areas of biochemical engineering and help to identify bottlenecks. Dr. Pohl of Heinrich-Heine-University (Düsseldorf) will consider evolutionary methods to develop special enzymatic catalysts and Prof. Wajant (University of Würzburg) will look at targeted mutagenesis as another method for developing innovative solutions. All of the research team members bring to the table significant expertise in bioscience, process engineering, chemistry, analysis and technical marketing.

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