Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy
SEED FUND 3.0 project ScreenP

Metabolic burden coupled phytase screening for sustainable phosphate recycling

Photo: Phytase-Modell nach PDB 1HP


Phosphate is a main component of fertilizers and therefore essential to feed humankind. Recycling concepts for phosphorus are a key request to ensure a self-sustaining food production in Europe and to avoid rapid depletion of concentrated natural deposits. Renewable resources like meal from food oil manufacturing are locally produced in NRW, available in significant quantities and of high potential for circular P-economy. ScreenP will contribute to phosphate stewardship by developing a product specific screening system, which will strengthen phytase engineering. An increased phytase expression redirects carbon flux and energy consumption from biomass formation to protein production. These dynamics can be monitored via Pichia Pastoris respiratory activity and used for the development of a novel high-throughput screening method. This novel screening assay will increase the screening abilities and the rate of identifying improved variants. Additionally, the product specific detection by NMR ensure to identify hits. The screening system developed in ScreenP will foster enzyme engineering and enable tailor made phytases for industrial applications (food, feed, P-management).

SEED FUND 2.0 Coordinator

Dr. Anna Joelle Ruff
ABBT - Biotechnology
RWTH Aachen
email: aj.ruff[at]



Prof. Dr. Schwaneberg, ABBt - Biotechnology, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Büchs & René Hanke, AVT - Biochemical Engineering , RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. Küppers & Dr. Willbold, ZEA-3: Analytics, Forschungszentrum Jülich


Funding period

01.02.2022 - 31.01.2023



ScreenP is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.