Chemical and Biochemical Procedures Laboratory

Introduction

The main aim of this research laboratory is to develop new, more effective and environmentally friendly chemical and biochemical processes as the enzyme catalytic processes using native and immobilized enzyme catalysts, working out new enzyme stabilizing methods, membrane bioreactor application for production of valuable components and integration the membrane separation with chemical-, biochemical reactions, synthesis of functional nanoparticles and application of the membrane processes for “blue energy” production.

Experimental works are under progress by biopolymers as carrier compounds of nanobiocomposites for diagnostic and therapy purposes. The stability of enzymes is carried out by covering every single enzyme with a very thin, porous polymer layer, which does not hinder the substrate molecules to be connected to the biocatalyst. This treatment isolates partly the enzyme from the environment preserving its catalytic activity for longer time. Different synthesis methods and different polymers are investigated for the enzyme stabilization.

Important research activity of the Laboratory is to investigate the membrane processes (pervaporation, nanofiltration) as a separation method and also as membrane reactor/bioreactor. The parallel realization of the reaction and separation of the components enables the user for elaboration of more effective chemical, biochemical processes. On the other hand, the application of more specific biocatalyst can provide more effective and cleaner processes. During these research the mathematical description of the mass transport process is an important research field, which results help the user in the realization more efficient chemical processes. It is researched how the pervaporation can be used for concentration of the bioethanol up to biofuel grade.

Furthermore, the degradation of bioactive material (e.g. pesticides, hormones, etc.), which are present in the surface water, in rivers, in low concentration, by enzymatic (by native and/or immobilized enzymes) reaction is also an important research field of this Research Laboratory. The removal of bioactive low concentration components from residue of the commercially purified wastewater, and/or from surface water is a crucial task to provide drinking water from surface/river waters.

Important research topics is the application of the pressure-driven membrane processes for energy generation (so called “blue energy”; pressure retarded osmosis) and/or for water removal (forward osmosis). Special attention is focused on the forming of cake layer (fouling) on the membrane surface or inside of the membrane matrix.

Mass transport through a membrane layer is an important research field in our activity. Several membrane processes are applied in the chemical/biochemical technologies. The component transport under different operation modes is dominating process considering the membrane performance, the selectivity and the mass transfer rate. Mathematical description and its evaluation by experimental data is an essential portion of our research activities.

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