Bioeconomy Science Center
Forschung und Kooperation für nachhaltige Bioökonomie
Bioeconomy Science Center
Forschung und Kooperation für nachhaltige Bioökonomie

BIOExpresSPro | Research and technology platform for the identification, production, secretion and optimization of enzymes


Plant-derived biomass represents an invaluable feedstock for bioeconomic processes. Today, its degradation is usually accomplished by a combination of chemical and enzymatic reactions. Therefore, this project aims to develop a novel technology platform providing plant biomass degrading enzymes. The platform comprises a comprehensive data base of new enzyme-encoding genes, a biosensor-based high-throughput screening system for enzyme production including secretion and enzyme optimization, and a pipeline for process development and optimization.

Impact on bioeconomy

Bioeconomy comprises the economic production of renewable biological resources and their sustainable conversion into food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. Among these resources, plants play a key role as they convert water, carbon dioxide and sun light into biomass. However, it still remains challenging to access plant-based biomass for a sustainable and economic conversion into the above mentioned product classes. For economic industrial processes, substantial amounts of plant biomass degrading enzymes must be provided implying the establishment of heterologous expression technology. This technology does not only include the expression of genes encoding the desired enzymes, but also enzyme secretion to make the entire production process economically feasible. Efficient host organisms allowing for protein production and secretion will thus add an important tool to the sustainable and economic use of plant raw materials. Hence, this technology platform represents an important contribution to a sustainable industrial biotechnology and thereby contributes to a major aim of the Bioeconomy Science Center.
BIOExpresSPro addresses the research areas “sustainable plant bio-production and resource stewardship” (FS 1), “microbial and molecular conversion” (FS 2) and “process technology of sustainable resources” (FS 3) as well as the cross-cutting topic “bioinformatics and knowledge management” (QT 2).

Expected results/ project products

This project will result in the development of a novel technology platform consisting of (i) a toolbox of newly identified enzymes capable of degrading plant raw materials, (ii) a bacterial system enabling high-throughput cloning, high-level expression and secretion for the production of the respective enzymes, (iii) a novel non-invasive fluorescence-based technology to monitor and optimize protein secretion, and (iv) protocols for economically feasible production processes. Furthermore, the participation of the biotech company AB Enzymes GmbH and the biotech SME evocatal GmbH enables the direct transfer of knowledge generated within this project into industrial applications.

Participating Core Groups


Prof. Dr. Karl-Erich Jaeger, Dr. Thomas Drepper; Institute of Molecular Enzyme Technology (IMET); Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf


Dr. Achim Heck (IMET)
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
52425 Jülich
phone: +49 (0) 24 61 - 61 41 73


Prof. Dr. Michael Bott, Prof. Dr. Roland Freudl; Institute of Bio- and Geosciences: Biotechnology (IBG-1, Systemic Microbiology); Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wiechert, Prof. Dr. Marco Oldiges; Institute of Bio- and Geosciences: Biotechnology (IBG-1, Systems Biotechnology); Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH.
Prof. Dr. Björn Usadel; Institute of Biology I (Botany/Molecular Genetics): Plant Walls, Metabolism & Bioinformatics; Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schwaneberg, Dr. Anna Joelle Ruff; Institute of Biotechnology (Bio VI, Biotechnology); Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen.

Partners from industry

AB Enzymes GmbH, Feldbergstrasse 78, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany.
evocatal GmbH, Merowingerplatz 1a, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.

Project duration

1.1.2014 – 31.12.2016

Funding budget

The total budget of BIOExpresSPro is € 798.586,00. BIOExpresSPro is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.