Emile Redant is winner of the Inspiring Young Scientist award!

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The scientific abstract submitted by Emile Redant was selected as winner of the “Inspiring young scientist” competition from the Knowledge for Growth conference, which was organized by FlandersBio in Ghent on 21 May 2015.

After graduating from Ghent University College with a Master’s degree in industrial bio-chemical engineering, Emile joined the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP) in 2013 as a process development engineer. His area of expertise is the development of novel processes for the production and purification of specialty carbohydrates, biosurfactants and other natural products.

Despite the many opportunities created by novel enzymes and whole cell biocatalysts for the commercial production of specialty chemicals, the application of biocatalysts has been slower than anticipated. Together with his colleagues, Emile is trying to close the gap between scientific feasibility and industrial application. The industrialization and commercial success of these novel enzymes is often hampered by limited availability of the enzyme, tedious process development and the need for extensive knowledge of biocatalysts across many disciplines.

Recently, novel biocatalysts were developed that can catalyze enzymatic glycosylation reactions both cost effectively and without the use of nucleotide-activated substrates. These biocatalysts are typically engineered and fine-tuned glucosyl tranfersases or hydrolases. In the Novosides project, BBEPP optimized the complete process, including enzyme production, conversion, and purification, to yield processes that are economically viable for a number of industrial applications. In addition, the process was validated in a pilot study, which not only yielded over 1 kg of sample that can be used in application studies, but also generated valuable data for production on a commercial scale.