Research microscope

Cristina Otero from the Biocatalysis and Bioenergy Group outlines how the laboratory is applying the biocatalysis for food, cosmetics, and renewable energy

The Biocatalysis and Bioenergy Group (BBG) is a research group that belongs to the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry, which is part of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). The Institute is one of the research centres included in the field of chemistry and chemical technologies. The group leader is Dr Otero. They investigate the application of biocatalysts to develop selective industrial processes in different areas: functional foods, nutraceuticals, sustainable chemistry, biomedicine, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, biodiesel, fine chemicals, etc.

BBG works in the design of new selective biocatalytic processes in both batch and continuous reactors. Since 1987, the group has exploited the advantages of bioprocesses in water and organic solvents (activity, selectivity, specificity, etc). BBG investigates the synthesis of compounds used as food additives or emulsifiers: mono-, di- and triacylglycerides, and fatty acid esters of monosaccharides, polyols, amines, alpha-hydroxyacids, biodiesel and phospholipids. BBG is involved in projects for the development of energy products and bioactive compounds from algae biomass. BBG has developed new extraction methods for algae biocomponents by enzyme-assisted protocols. BBG also carries out a complete chemical and functional characterisation of the different extracted biocomponents of algae biomass.

The group has wide experience in most of the techniques that are relevant in the field of biocatalysis: a methodology for the immobilisation/stabilisation of enzymes, reaction and reactor engineering. The chemical characterisation of products and the progress of the enzymatic reactions are followed by TLC, HPLC, gas-liquid chromatography, NMR and others.

Integration and collaboration of research

The laboratory of BBG is integrated into the network of laboratories of Madrid+D, running analysis of FAME, glycerides, and biodiesel according to directives EN ISO 9001. Determination of FAMEs, oxidative stability, oil composition in terms of mono-, di- and triacylglycerol, free fatty acids, water content, density, viscosity, solid fat content, etc are carried out.

BBG group has established fruitful collaborations with the Dept. Chem. Eng. of Wisconsin Univ., the Technological Institute of Veracruz (Mexico) and Korea University, and has participated in different international programs (NATO, European Union, Royal Soc. Of UK, Korean KOSEF, Romanian Academy of Sciences, etc). BBG liberates national and international scientific consortia for evaluation and demonstration of functional properties of new oil formulations for patients with obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension and cancer, and for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and senior citizens.

BBG has developed a process of synthesis of biodiesel from sunflower oil. The process optimisation involves the design of new catalysts more efficient in the alcoholysis reaction, the reactor design and determination of optimal operational conditions. BBG also organises monographic courses about synthesis and characterisation of biodiesel, methods of characterisation of materials, enzymes, applied biocatalysis, biotransformations, lipids and phospholipids.


Cristina Otero

Biocatalysis and Bioenergy Group

ICP Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemicals

Tel: +34 91 585 4805 / 15 / 00

Please note: this is a commercial profile


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