NSERC Industrial Biocatalysis Network

Discovery of biocatalysis for use in sustainable manufacturing and greener energy production

Biocatalysts are:

  • Highly Selective

    It is desirable for catalysts to be highly selective. This improves purity, allows for easier separation, and minimizes potentially toxic side reactions.

  • Environmentally Friendly

    Instead of using fossil fuels to make plastics and industrial chemicals, biocatalysts can use renewable waste feedstocks. Additionally, biocatalysts are effective under mild operating conditions (e.g. room temperature) and avoid the need for toxic solvents and reagents.

  • Fully Recyclable

    Expensive or toxic compounds are not lost during the catalysis process.

The Challenge

Bioproducts, i.e., products manufactured from renewable resources or using biological production systems, are the foundation of the new global low carbon bioeconomy. This bioeconomy will support many sectors including commodity chemicals and materials, health, agriculture, and energy.

The goal of the Industrial Biocatalysis Network (IBN) is to discover new enzymes and pathways through detailed enzyme analyses supported by bioinformatics and structural genomics tools. In this way, our aim is to develop well-defined bioprocesses that can synthesize a focused set of commodity chemicals, polymers, and valuable natural products, starting from renewable and low-cost carbon sources.


The IBN technology platform is comprised of four stages: (1) candidate selection, (2) recombinant biocatalyst production, (3) functional assays, and (4) bioprocess assembly. These platforms facilitate high-throughput enzyme discovery and production.

Enzyme Discovery

Enzyme Production

Enzyme Analysis

Pathway Optimization