Research (Bioproducts)

My broad research interest lies in the field of Bioproducts in the ESP-Bioproducts Research Group (located in labs 410/412). The main thrust of my research in enzyme biotechnology involves the Carbohydrate Active Enzymes (CAZymes – also termed glycoside hydrolases, GHs), and how these enzymes can be employed to generate valuable bioproducts – for the African bioeconomy in general and South African bio-economy in particular. Our main contribution to the field has been in understanding cellulase-hemicellulase synergism for lower enzyme loadings and more cost-efficient production of biofuels. We have extended this to include a study on mannanase synergism in order to produce prebiotic manno-oligosaccharides (MOS) for application in the field of nutrition. In addition, we are also interested in how enzymes can break down non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs) in animal feeds, releasing more nutrients for optimal growth, digestion and health in livestock. In addition, seaweeds contain very important enzyme inhibitors, such as the carbohydrate fucoidan, which are very potent tools for addressing diabetes, obesity and cancer.  Fucoidan and other seaweed-derived inhibitors will constitute the major focus of future research in our group, adding to the wide array of bioproducts we are able to produce – biofuels, prebiotics, animal feeds, as well as anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-obesity compounds. The projects involve exposure to a range of cutting-edge techniques in the field, such as feedstock pre-treatment, substrate compositional analysis, protein expression and purification, enzyme kinetics and synergism studies, SEM, XRD, fluorescence spectroscopy, viscometry, TLC and HPLC, FT-IR and NMR, RSM and cytotoxicity analyses.



Last Modified: Mon, 11 Mar 2019 09:22:51 SAST