CARBAFIN @EFIB2021 – Event Summary

EFIB2021 is over and about 50 participants have joined the CARBAFIN pre-conference workshop “The future of CARBAFIN’s glycosylation technology in industrial production processes”.

At first, participants were introduced to the project, its objectives, concepts and key results by project manager Christiane Luley (acib). Then, industrial representatives Thomas Häßler (Pfeifer & Langen), Steven Koenig (bitop) and Stefan Krawielitzki (AVA Biochem) showed different use cases of the glycosylation technology in food, cosmetics or bulk chemistry applications. But the various application fields might be even broader, which was shown by the presentations of external industry partners, Michael Merz (Nestlé), Ronny Vercauteren (Cargill) and Regis Marchand (SEPPIC).

To discuss the replication potential of CARBAFIN and future collaborations in further detail, participants came together in a world café discussion and concentrated on three topics:

  • Replication potential of CARBAFIN’s glycosylation technology
  • Requirements of life-cycle-assessments for process validations
  • Expectations of collaborations in European project consortia

Get a summary of the world café discussion here.


Join us at the CARBAFIN stakeholder workshop at EFIB 2021 in Vienna!

With respect to circular economy and the use of renewable feedstocks, the European project CARBAFIN has developed a radically new value chain for the utilization of sucrose from sugar beet biomass. Functional glycosides (eg for prebiotics or cosmetics) or platform chemicals (eg for bioplastics, biofuels or biopolymers) are important product examples and open new and economically relevant perspectives for the European sugar industry to several industrial sectors. Biocatalytic production processes were elevated to an industrial level using an integrated process design approach accompanied by environmental and economic evaluation.

In this satellite stakeholder workshop we would like to discuss the replication potential of this glycosylation technology and explore the opportunities thereof in different industries: Representatives from the cosmetic, food, feed, pharma or (bulk) chemical industry as well as scientists are welcome to identify new solutions for a bio-based re-industrialization in Europe and to discuss new ways of valorization.

Learn about CARBAFIN’s outcomes and results, find new collaboration partners and take part in our joint expert’s discussion in world café format to exchange perspectives and requirements for production routes in terms of a circular economy.

Register here!

New publication at “Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology”

The CARBAFIN team of acib and Graz, University of Technology has published a paper on continuous bioprocessing of glucosides from sucrose using the enzyme sucrose-phosphorylase. The advantage of this continuous approach is the tight interconnection of production (upstream) and purification (downstream) process steps as well as a stable operation at excellent output parameters over weeks. A crucial part of the technology is the catalyst immobilization by whole cell encapsulation in porous polymer materials. In other words, a kind of a “nanobioreactor” is created to produce the desired glucoside more efficiently.

The process paves the way for an intensified glucoside production at industrial scale and shows considerable replication potential for other glycosylation products derived from sucrose.

Read the full article and access related data sets.

Preview of Journal

New publication at ChemBioChem

It’s getting “hot in the city” but this is no problem for the thermostable sucrose phosphorylase which was engineered by our CARBAFIN team at University of Ghent. The biocatalyst derived from Bifidobacterium adolescentis can cope with temperatures higher than 50°C, which offers a reduction of microbial contamination during the production process of glucosylglycerol, a moisturizing ingredient in skin care products. The engineered enzyme shows a significantly improved efficiency, and therefore, gained relevance for cosmetic or food industry. For more details check out the original publication, published in ChemBioChem in May 2021.

Read more

Franceus J, Ubiparip Z, Beerens K, Desmet T: Engineering of a thermostable biocatalyst for the synthesis of 2-O-Glucosylglycerol. 2021, ChemBioChem.


New publication at “Carbohydrate Polymers”

The CARBAFIN technology offers a broad spectrum of applications. Quite recently, the team of Graz University of Technology was successful in applying two of the CARBAFIN enzymes, cellobiose phosphorylase and cellodextrin phosphorylase for the bottom-up synthesis of reducing end thiol-labeled cellulose material in a cascade reaction. This is important for a controlled assembly of functional nano-composites and promotes applications for example in electrochemistry, biosensing, catalysis or medicine.

Cover Carbohydrate Polymers

The original article was published in open access journal “Carbohydrate Polymers”.

Read more

Zhong C, Zajki-Zechmeister K, Nidetzky B: Reducing end thiol-modified nanocellulose: Bottom-up enzymatic synthesis and use for templated assembly of silver nanoparticles into biocidal composite material. 2021, Carbohydrate Polymers, Vol 260.

Publication news: b-glucan phosphorylases in carbohydrate synthesis

Our team from Ghent University has released a Mini-Review presenting an overview of the application of β-glucan phosphorylases in carbohydrate synthesis. Derived carbohydrates (β-glucans) such as cellodextrins can be used as ingredients and additives in the food, feed or cosmetic industry. There is no doubt that the relevance of this enzyme class is increasing for these industrial sectors and will warrant spending more efforts on enzyme engineering, as was also shown in the CARBAFIN project.

Have a look on the publication by following the link:

Ubiparip, Z., De Doncker, M., Beerens, K., Franceus, J., Desmet, T. β-Glucan phosphorylases in carbohydrate synthesis. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2021).

Publication News: Bottom-up production of cellulose derivatives

CARBAFIN has released a review about cellodextrin phosphorylase and its suitability for a bottom-up production of cellulose derivatives. So far, these derivatives are produced top-down from lignocellulosic substrates. However, for some product classes a more controllable and “property-tunable” approach would be clearly preferred (eg hydrogels). The publication explores the characteristics of the enzyme and the advantages of an enzymatic production of soluble cello-oligosaccharide.

Link to orginal publication

Publication News: Insights from kinetic analysis of sucrose-phosphorylase catalyzed reactions

The optimization of chemical reactions always implies to know the underlaying kinetics like the back of one’s hand. This becomes even more important if a reaction is going to be applied for commercial-scale production! Sucrose phosphorylase, the central enzyme of CARBAFIN, was characterized in terms of kinetics related to the donor substrate: for the glycosylation of glycerol, the effect of donor substrates, in particular sucrose and glucose-1-phosphate was explored.

The results, published by CARBAFIN partner Graz University of Technology, give an explanation for the kinetic behavior of sucrose phosphorylase and show that type and concentration of the glucosyl donor have a significant impact on enzyme selectivity for product formation.

CARBAFIN webinar: The potential of phosphorylase-based glycosylation technology for industry

12th April 2021, 9:00 am – 10:15 am

Register here:

Sugar industry is facing a crisis since several years. The sugar quota has fallen and caused a significant descrease in prices. The European project CARBAFIN is about the development of a radically new value chain for the utilization of sucrose from sugar beet biomass. Functional glycosides (eg for prebiotics or cosmetics) or platform chemicals (eg for bioplastics, biopolymers or biofuels) are important examples for products of the new technology and open new and economically relevant perspectives to several industry sectors.

The central aspect for the conversion of sugar (sucrose) is the use of glycoside phosphorylases, highly active and robust enzymes for linking sugar molecules to another compound. In the frame of CARBAFIN this glycosylation process was optimized within cell factories and linked to an efficient downstream processing.

What does that mean to the industrial sectors of food/feed, cosmetics or also chemistry?

The webinar demonstrates how CARBAFIN is going to contribute to a bio-based re-industrialization in Europe by glycosylation processes based on sucrose with fructose valorization in parallel.

We cordially invite exploiters and potential technology users from industry as well as interested scientists to join our virtual CARBAFIN event and to discuss potential application fields and perspectives!


Welcome address (Prof. Dr. Bernd Nidetzky; Coordinator of CARBAFIN, CSO acib GmbH, Professor at Institute of Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering, Graz University of Technology)

CARBAFIN – a phosphorylase-based glycosylation technology

  • Introduction to the project: CARBAFIN at a glance (Dr. Christiane Luley; Project manager of CARBAFIN, acib GmbH)
  • Process integration strategies (DI Andreas Kruschitz; PhD student of CARBAFIN, acib GmbH)

When it comes to application – experiences from industry

  • Single phosphorylase glycosylation technology for Glycoin® production at bitop
  • Multi-step phosphorylase glycosylation technology in bulk industry at Pfeifer & Langen
  • Making use of fructose (waste) streams for the production of 5-HMF at AVA Biochem

The potential of generating new value chains

  • Potential of CARBAFIN technology in other industry sectors (Dr. Kai Baldenius; External Advisor of CARBAFIN, Consultant)
  • Open discussion and Q/A Session


The CARBAFIN events in 2021

CARBAFIN has started into the final year of project duration and is approaching a couple of events. You are interested in the technologies, the results and the outcomes of the project and you want to know, how you could benefit from our findings? Don’t miss our webinar in spring, our public event in summer or our Stakeholder conference session at EFIB 2021 in Vienna. Find below a list of events, where CARBAFIN is going to be presented this year. We are looking forward to meet you soon. Stay tuned!

  • Stakeholder Webinar: The CARBAFIN glycosylation technology – generating new value chains in a novel integrated biocatalytic production technology and the implementation in industry (April 2021, registration starts mid of February)
  • Biotrans, Graz (19th – 22nd July 2021): 
  • Public Event: Sweet breakfast – Find out about the biotechnology behind novel food and cosmetic ingredients. Why is it important to identify radically new value chains for the utilization of biomass? (Summer 2021)
  • CARBAFIN session at EFIB 2021: The CARBAFIN glycosylation technology and its future perspectives – what comes next? (5th – 7th October 2021)