Canadian universities looking into bio-chemicals
Dec 2, 2014, Vancouver - UBC chemists are part of a new research initiative aimed at upgrading the sustainability of Canada’s industrial sector by replacing its lifeblood — petrochemicals — with green alternatives.
UBC (University of British Columbia), Concordia University (Montreal) and the University of Toronto make up the
Industrial Biocatalysis Network (IBN) — a five-year, $5 million program which
is part of the federal government's Strategic Network Grants.
Michael Smith Laboratories and Department of Chemistry researcher
Harry Brumer, UBC’s principal investigator with IBN, describes his role
as one of discovery and development in the science of biocatalysts.
"We are searching organisms in our environment for natural
biocatalysts, that on their own or in ensembles, could one day replace
the unsustainable processes now required for industrial chemical and
materials manufacturing," said Brumer.
Biocatalysts are enzymes vital to the normal functioning of all
living things. In the global carbon cycle, biocatalysts are essential
for the production and breakdown of plant biomass.
Just as the oil industry splits its raw material into thousands of
other chemicals used in industry and manufacturing, IBN aims to
transform Canada’s abundant biomass resources from forests and
agriculture, into valuable biochemicals.
More information on the network, or contact information, can be found here.