Futuroleaf, a European project

Karsten Haupt is Pro­fes­sor of Bio­chem­istry at the UTC and has been Direc­tor of UTC’s Enzyme and Cel­lu­lar Engi­neer­ing (GEC) lab­o­ra­to­ry since 2012. A spe­cial­ist in mol­e­c­u­lar imprint­ing, he is tak­ing part in the Euro­pean Futur­oleaf project launched in 2020 and due to run until the end of 2023.

So, what is the aim of Futur­oleaf? “The aim is to use porous nanocel­lu­lose-based struc­tures that can specif­i­cal­ly sequester the cells of cer­tain pho­to­syn­thet­ic bac­te­ria, thanks to the mol­e­c­u­lar imprint­ed poly­mers (MIPs) incor­po­rat­ed into the struc­ture. The idea is to cre­ate a 3D cel­lu­lar biore­ac­tor to mim­ic the struc­ture and func­tion of plant leaves, an excep­tion­al but nat­ur­al process. The idea is to mim­ic the way in which plants func­tion, and thanks to pho­to­syn­the­sis, ener­gy from the sun and CO2 cap­tured from the atmos­phere, we could syn­the­sise mol­e­cules of inter­est in chem­istry”, explains Karsten Haupt.

What makes Futur­oleaf so orig­i­nal? “The answer stems from the fact that we are cre­at­ing syn­thet­ic sheets that can trans­form sun­light and car­bon diox­ide into high added-val­ue prod­ucts”, he points out.

What exact­ly is the UTC-GEC’s role in this project? “We are essen­tial­ly work­ing on the MIP, com­po­nents which enable the spe­cif­ic cap­ture of a giv­en pro­tein on the sur­face of the cell. In an arti­fi­cial leaf. We can also have two dif­fer­ent cells that can help each oth­er to car­ry out a spe­cif­ic syn­the­sis”, he adds.

Can you cite some areas of appli­ca­tion? “Pos­si­ble appli­ca­tions could involve active phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and cos­met­ic prod­ucts, or even basic chem­i­cal prod­ucts such as flavour­ings, with con­sid­er­ably improved effi­cien­cy lev­els com­pared with cur­rent sus­pen­sion cul­ture sys­tems,” says Karsten Haupt.

The project is being car­ried out in col­lab­o­ra­tion with inter­na­tion­al indus­tri­al and aca­d­e­m­ic part­ners includ­ing VTT, Aal­to Uni­ver­si­ty and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Turku in Fin­land, Graz Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy in Aus­tria and Cyano Biotech; GmbH; Germany.

Le magazine

Novembre 2023 - N°61

Activité physique, nutrition & santé

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