Biotechnology

The Biotechnology Research Group seeks unique microbes in hot springs and in the marine environment. The aim is to identify and produce active and powerful enzymes or other valuable compounds for use in the food processing, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

We use innovative sequence-based bioprospecting approaches to mine natural microbial communities for properties of interest. Important core competences of Matís are molecular genetics, molecular biotechnology and metabolic engineering, which are applied to increase production of the biocatalysts and bio-molecules. This work has resulted in the establishment of a large bacterial strain collection containing more than 4000 strains of great diversity.

The Biotechnology Research Group has extensive experience in prospecting metagenomes derived from hot springs or marine environments for polysaccharides and carbohydrate enzymes. Over the years, our work in this field has established a collection of more than 200 recombinantly producible, stable carbohydrate enzymes.

In recent years Matís has increased its focus on developing of biorefinery systems based on thermophilic bacteria. The objective has been to produce biofuels, valuable bioactive compounds or platform chemicals from lignocellulosic and macroalgal biomass. The work has involved development of genetic tools and biobricks with resultant synthetic biology studies.

For further information on two of our main activities:

Biomolecules Research Group Leader

Dr. Gudmundur Oli Hreggvidsson (website / email)