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Research fields 

We anchor our researches in the fields of:

Lipid chemistry and biotechnology

We develop innovative processes, in the context of classic refining or biorefining of plant/animal/marine oils and fats, and waste streams. We design, synthesize & characterize novel lipids with new desired properties & functionalities; and establish structure-property relationships. We address the application and process concerns in terms of lipid nutrition, quality and safety from lab to pilot scale with advanced lipidomics analysis and profiling.   


(Adapted from Zou et al., Curr. Opin. Food Sci. 2017, 16: 28-39) 

(Adapted from Anankanbil et al, Food Chem 2019, 275: 474-)

Agro-industrial Biotechnology

We develop novel cross-disciplinary processes at the interface of cultivar, aqua-culture, microbial fermentation and industrial biotechnology. We design and synthesize ionic liquids as green processing aid to address technological challenges for valorization of lignocellulosic biomass and other agricultural residues. We develop new enzyme preparations (e.g. protein biofluids), nano-catalysts, metal-enzyme complexes to achieve thermostable performance-enhanced catalysis and biocatalysis. We engineer enzymes for conversion of microalgae oil into value-added fatty acid derivatives. We design and assembly cascade reaction systems through multi-enzyme channeling, compartmentalization design and reactor configuration to enable multi-step conversions.       


Metalloenzyme-driven New Chemistry

We mine, screen and discover new enzyme activities from bacteria and microbes. We identify new activity or engineer moonlight promiscuity for new-to-nature chemistry or enzymatic alternatives to conventional organic synthesis. We study the fundamental mechanism of metalloenzyme catalysis and harvest catalytic potentials in agro-industry biotechnology. We use rational design and directed evolution to engineer metal enzymes including heme-/ non-heme monooxygenases and dioxygenases for high stereoselective and high efficient chemical synthesis.

Technological platforms

  •  Classic/Biorefining

Physical deacification/alkali neutralization-bleaching-deodorization; Fractionation and short-path distillation; Deoiling of lecithin and PC fractionation; enzymatic refining & degumming; lipase-catalysed synthesis of structured lipids; Chemical/enzymatic production of partial glycerides   

  •  Green chemistry & biocatalysis

COSMO-RS based prediction and simulation; design and synthesis of ionic liquids; Non-natural amino acid protein engineering; Surface-engineering and protein biofluids; Metal-Enzyme catalysis coupling cascade

  •  Enzyme engineering

P450/P411 monooxygenase; extradiol dioxygenase; biocatalytic carbene functionalization. Fatty acid hydratase; asymmetric hydration of unsaturated fatty acids; Rational design and random engineering approaches.