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.

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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”.

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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)

Another CARBAFIN Newsletter released

CARBAFIN has finished its third year of project duration and sums up the intermediate status of project results and activities in the recent newsletter (released on 7th December 2020). Enjoy reading!

Before entering the fourth and final year of CARBAFIN, the whole team wishes you a joyful and merry Christmas! All the best for 2021 and don’t forget about the sweet side of life in these challenging times 🙂

All good things come in threes!

The CARBAFIN team of UGent reported a successful application of engineered enzymes for the production of cellotriose! Cellotriose belongs to the group of cellodextrins, compounds that have the potential to act as prebiotics. Currently, cellodextrins are synthesized from cellulose by the chemical procedures that result in a complex mixture of oligosaccharides.

The idea within CARBAFIN is to produce cellotriose, believed to be the most potent component in the mixture, by an enzymatic bottom-up approach that would enable its defined synthesis. Cellotriose is composed of 3 glucose-units. Two bacterial strains (Cellulomonas uda and Clostridium cellulosi) provide the most promising enzyme candidates, which can be applied in a one-pot reaction. In the first step, enzyme number 1 (cellobiose phosphorylase, CBP) from Cellulomonas uda assembles two elements to produce cellobiose. Then, enzyme number 2 (cellodextrin phosphorylase, CDP) from Clostridium cellulosi elongates cellobiose by other glucose units to produce the three-piece compound, cellotriose but also larger cello-oligosaccharides.

In the recent paper, a special focus is given to the CBP enzyme and its improved variant that can synthesize cellotriose on its own. It represents a crucial step in enabling further research and commercial exploitation of cellotriose.

Read the full research article here!