Partner 1a (CNAP) | Partner 1b (YSBL)

Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) has been dedicated to research and outreach into non-food products from plants since its founding in 1999. CNAP conducts research in a number of areas including, biomass and biofuels, novel and improved plant oils, medicinal and pharmaceutical products from plants, gene and enzyme discovery, biochemical pathway engineering, biocatalysis, and bioremediation (www.york.ac.uk/org/cnap).

CNAP P4fifty

Prof Neil Bruce PI

Neil is the co-ordinator of P4FIFTY and is currently Professor of Biotechnology at CNAP in the Department of Biology at the University of York. Following a PhD in Microbial Biochemistry at the University of Kent in 1987, Neil joined the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge as a postdoctoral research associate with Prof. Chris Lowe and was subsequently awarded a Research Fellowship at Wolfson College. He was appointed to a University Lectureship in Biotechnology in the same department in 1990 and was promoted to a Personal Readership in Biotechnology in 2001. He was elected to a fellowship at Trinity Hall in 1991. In 2002 he was appointed to a Research Chair in Biotechnology at the University of York. He coordinated the FP6 Marie Curie Early Stage Fellowship Programme CHEMCELL. He has worked on the biochemistry and molecular genetics of microbial and plant metabolism for over 25 years. He has over 15 years’ experience on the biodegradation of explosives and this work has been supported by long-standing collaborative programmes with the UK MoD and the US DoD. His work on enzyme technologies has resulted in the discovery of a diverse range of enzymes that have environmental and industrial biotechnology applications.

Project title: Mining Arabidopsis for plant P450 biocatalysts

Plants contain a plethora of cytochromes P450 that play important roles in a wide diversity of metabolic processes are involved in the biosynthesis of a remarkable range of complex secondary metabolites. We have been developing ligation independent cloning based drop in vectors for the creation of redox-self-sufficient fusions of plant P450s and demonstrated the activity of these fusions in whole cell biocatalysts. In this project we will mine Arabidopsis for P450s that carry out oxidative biotransformations of industrial importance. The P450s will be engineered as fused redox-self-sufficient enzyme systems in E. coli suitable for high-throughput screening of substrate reactivities and biochemical characterisation.