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Bangor University’s New Centre for Biotechnology

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The doors of Bangor University’s Centre for Environmental Biotechnology (CEB) have finally opened. The opening of CEB has placed Bangor University’s research at the cutting edge of research. The research centre aims to discover new enzymes with the potential to transform the efficiency of current biotechnology industries. The centre will be looking at extremophiles and how they can be used within industrial processes. Most industrial sectors such as pharmaceuticals, energy and cosmetics use inefficient chemical synthesis processes, which require high energy consumption and organic solvents, which are damaging to the environmental and public health. CEB aims to replace chemical synthesis by identifying, developing and testing biological catalysts (enzymes) taken from extremophiles.

Due to these extreme microorganisms being exposed to such harsh living conditions such as high temperatures, varying salinity and acidity, the enzymes are already well suited to work in the conditions created in industrial processes. Using these enzymes will reduce energy consumption, pollution and cost. All of which will benefit key sections of scientific research such as life sciences, pharmaceuticals and chemical manufacturing.

Professor Peter Golyshin, a professor of Biotechnology at Bangor University and Co-director of the new centre has said:

“This new Centre provides a great opportunity to combine the university’s cutting-edge staff expertise in bioanalytics with our leading expertise in microbiology and genomics of extremophiles and enzyme discovery and applications. Enabling this team to work in a new centre with state-of-the-art research instruments the Centre will lead to major new discoveries about how extremophiles can survive at the limits to life and how we can harness this capacity to achieve breakthroughs in the efficiency and environmental sustainability of many industrial processes.”

The centre is located within the University’s School of Natural Sciences. The centre has received £5m of EU funding through the Welsh Government and will positively impact the local economy and boost the region’s capacity work cohesively with industry and further develop this rapidly-emerging sector.

 

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Charlotte Bilsby

Science Editor 2018-19

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