Up Nnorth in Search of the Perfect Enzyme

| By Leon Kirschgens & Jacqueline Plaster

In the Baltic Sea city of Greifwald, the team at the University of Greifswald has specialised in research into novel enzymes against petrochemical plastics. The team benefits from the best research environment.

If you ask the people of Greifswald how they would describe their home town in one sentence, you will usually get a very common answer. In the Hanseatic city of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, people say: Greifswald is not a university city, but a university with a city. Of the nearly 60,000 inhabitants, more than 10,000 people are students, and the campus extends over the entire coastal city. The university has a particular focus on biotechnology.

This unique research environment also benefits the mix-up consortium. As a MIX-UP partner, the University of Greifswald focuses primarily on the isolation and development of novel enzymes from nature or biocatalysts. Professor Uwe T. Bornscheuer's team is thus trying to develop better catalytic activities against mixed petrochemical plastics. The professor is assisted by Dr. Ren Wei, who is an expert in the field of biochemistry and has more than twelve years of experience in the biochemical degradation of petrochemical plastics. The two doctoral students Carolin Buchmann and Gerlis von Haugwitz complement the team and focus their research on the isolation and development of different enzymes that degrade novel and mixed plastics.