Glycosidases (pectin-degrading enzymes, amylases and xylanases) are essential to industrial competitiveness in brewing, fruit juice manufacture, baking and animal husbandry. The presence of specific protein inhibitors in plants used as starting materials jeopardises the economics of these processes . This projects aims to understand the action of these multifunctional proteinaceous inhibitors, and to determine their biodiversity and expression patterns in the plant. This information will be used to optimise industrial processes by using modified enzymes, careful selection of raw material, choice of reaction conditions and with the option of developing modified crops in the future. The involvement of 3 industrial partners will ensure that improvements in processing are converted to gains in European competitiveness.
- Determine the inhibition mechanism, the determinants governing the interaction between enzyme and inhibitor and the specificity of inhibitors towards glycosidases from various sources.
- Elucidate how widespread inhibitors are across the plant kingdom and assess their impact on target enzymes.
- Investigate the expression pattern of these inhibitors in plant tissues and evaluate their role in vivo in plant defence against pathogens.
- Use the information derived from 1-3 to design or choose modified enzymes with lower susceptibility to inhibitors, select materials, with lower inhibitor amounts and exploit new uses of inhibitors inplant defence.
- Transfer the knowledge gained into improved industrial processes using glycosidases with consequent gains in efficiency, more efficient enzyme usage and increased environmentally-friendly processes using enzymes.
- Elucidation of inhibitor role and expression in the plant (month 20)
- Identification of novel glycosidase inhibitors and target enzymes (month 28)
- Structure-function of glycosidase-inhibitor interaction (month 33)
- Improved protein inhibitor technology in food, feed and agricultural sectors (month 36)