Biocatalysts for the Production of Glycosides
Abstract Novosides is a collaborative
research project funded by the European
Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme
(FP7). Four academic institutes and two
industrial partners from five European countries
are involved in the work packages. Our goal is
the development of biocatalytic processes for
the glycosylation of small organic molecules
such as flavonoids, alkaloids and steroids.
Glycosylation can drastically improve both the
physicochemical and biological properties of
these molecules, but very few biocatalysts are
currently available to perform this modification
cost-efficiently at the industrial scale.
The glycosylation potential of transglycosidases,
glycoside phosphorylases and glycoside
hydrolases will now be explored in more detail.
These enzymes catalyze the transfer a glycosyl
group from cheap and readily available donor
substrates (e.g. sucrose) to different acceptor
molecules. To maximize their performance, the
enzymes’ specificity and stability will be
engineered by means of directed evolution, using
novel fluorescent probes as tools for
high-throughput screening. The reactions will
then be optimised and scaled-up at pilot plant
facilities to allow the commercial exploitation
of the glycosylated products.