Prof. dr. Desmet Tom
Developing cheap but efficient processes for the glycosylation of small molecules like drugs, vitamins, antioxidants, flavours and fragrances
Attaching a sugar to small molecules like drugs, vitamins, antioxidants, flavours and fragrances (i.e. glycosylation) can often improve their properties, in particular solubility and stability. For example, glycosylated vitamin C lasts much longer in skin creams, while glycosylated flavonoids can be added to food preparations in much higher concentrations. Glycosides are created with the help of catalysts which could be of chemical nature or biological. Biological catalysts (enzymes) offer economical and ecological benefits. Watch the animation to find out more.
More than 50 different biocatalysts have been evaluated in terms of cost-effectiveness, and the most promising have been optimized through enzyme and process engineering. Several reactions were scaled-up in pilot plant facilities, demonstrating the feasibility of our technology at the kg scale. The resulting products are currently being tested in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food applications.