BENG Research Labs

BENG develops research and innovation in the areas of Blue Biotechnology, Biomolecular Engineering and Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology and is composed by 4 labs.

The Blue Biotechnology Lab is focused on the discovery of new value-added bioactive compounds from marine-derived actinomycetes from unexplored Atlantic Ocean sites. The group has a collection of 1500 marine-derived actinomycetes, with biotechnological potential, for the development of industrial applications, such as wound dressing and antifouling paints and coatings.

The Biomolecular Engineering Lab is focused on the design and discovery of peptidomimetics with biological or synthetic backbones and on the development of self-assembled functional materials, with applications in Bioseparation, Biocatalysis, Sensing & Diagnostics. In the Bioseparation area, the group designed a purification adsorbent with unique selectivity towards antibody molecules and also showed how crystallization and precipitation can be allied to affinity technologies to improve purification processes. In the sensing area, the group made important contributions in developing gas-sensitive materials for the distinction of volatiles from several sources, the quantification of ethanol in gasoline, and the analysis of food spoilage.

The Bioengineering of Therapeutic Proteins Lab develops new strategies in the upstream and downstream flowsheets to obtain human membrane proteins that are difficult to manipulate and stabilize. With these biotech platforms we are able to characterize the biochemical and biophysical properties of proteins with therapeutic relevance in neurodegenerative, oncological and ophthalmological human aging diseases.

The Biochemical Engineering Lab develops green and sustainable innovative technologies at lab and pilot scale for bioresource recovery through the production of biopolymers and fine chemicals and linking these processes with wastewater treatment based on a circular bioeconomy concept. Applications of the developed products in different sectors are also investigated. Processes have been successfully  patented and technology transferred to the industry.

Recent publications
Concordio-Reis, P; Ferreira, SS; Alves, VD; Moppert, X; Guezennec, J; Coimbra, MA; Reis, MAM; Freitas, F. 2023. Rheological characterization of the exopolysaccharide produced by Alteromonas macleodii Mo 169. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL MACROMOLECULES, 227, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2022.12.117
Esmail, A; Torres, CAV; Ortiz-Albo, P; Marques, AC; Gonçalves, A; Neves, LA; Pinto, JV; Reis, MAM; Freitas, F. 2023. Characterization of bacterial cellulose produced by <i>Komagataeibacter xylinus</i> strains grown in styrene/glucose mixtures. CELLULOSE, DOI: 10.1007/s10570-023-05559-0
Silva, F; Matos, M; Pereira, B; Ralo, C; Pequito, D; Marques, N; Carvalho, G; Reis, MAM. 2022. An integrated process for mixed culture production of 3-hydroxyhexanoa-te-rich polyhydroxyalkanoates from fruit waste. CHEMICAL ENGINEERING JOURNAL, 427, DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2021.131908
Pinto-Almeida, A; Bauermeister, A; Luppino, L; Grilo, IR; Oliveira, J; Sousa, JR; Petras, D; Rodrigues, CF; Prieto-Davo, A; Tasdemir, D; Sobral, RG; Gaudencio, SP. 2022. The Diversity, Metabolomics Profiling, and the Pharmacological Potential of Actinomycetes Isolated from the Estremadura Spur Pockmarks (Portugal). Marine Drugs, 20, DOI: 10.3390/md20010021
Schneider, XT; Stroil, BK; Tourapi, C; Rebours, C; Gaudêncio, SP; Novoveska, L; Vasquez, MI. 2022. Responsible Research and Innovation Framework, the Nagoya Protocol and Other European Blue Biotechnology Strategies and Regulations: Gaps Analysis and Recommendations for Increased Knowledge in the Marine Biotechnology Community. Marine Drugs, 20, DOI: 10.3390/md20050290