Terpene-based biomaterials by biocatalytic upcycling of inert synthons from wood

This project is made possible by generous financial support from FORMAS, ÅForsk and the Wallenberg Wood Science Center.

Resource Efficiency

The Syrén lab works with different projects related to resource efficiency aiming to contribute to a sustainable society by using biotechnology and biocatalysis. In order to achieve this goal we use synthetic biology and artificial pathway design as well as polymer technology. One current focus is on unraveling the biological mechanisms that generate multicyclic natural products and to reassemble cascades of such biocatalysts for synthesis of fine chemicals and materials through synthetic biology.


Novel biomaterials

Capitalizing on our approach of retrosynthetic analysis in concert with chemoenzymatic catalysis and polymer chemistry, we have generated two novel bio-inspired polymers with rings incorporated into their backbones. For the first time, we have upgraded the monoterpene α-pinene, abundant in waste streams from the paper- and pulp- industry, into a verbanone-derived lactone and corresponding polyesters. We are currently exploring the potential of our newly generated building blocks and green caprolactone analogues in various applications together with industrial partners.

Novel polymers



Life is easy to identify, but remarkably hard to define. One fundamental property of living organisms is the order they create in their environment through evolved metabolic pathways, organized structures and self-replication which are basal energy-consuming processes dependent on enzymes that accelerate the chemistry of life up to 10^26-fold. Fundamental and organizational tasks, for instance energy conversion and information processing, would take millions – or even billions – of years in the absence of enzymes, thus representing timescales that would be incompatible with life.

The Syrén lab works with computer simulations and bioinformatics, as well as experimental biotechnology and protein engineering to enhance our fundamental understanding of enzymes, their mechanisms and evolution at the atomistic level. Towards reaching this goal we bridge fundamental chemical principles with state-of-the art biotechnology. Through transdisciplinary scientific methods we are developing novel enzyme engineering strategies for applications within biopolymer science and for the generation of superior biopharmaceuticals and fine chemicals from renewable sources.

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