Thursday, 28 June 2007
Congressional Room (Capital Hilton Hotel)

2007 Hancock "Promising Young Investigator" Award: Investigating cutinases for the deacetylation of polyvinyl acetate

Asa Ronkvist1, Jennifer Haghpanah1, Richard Gross1, and Jin Montclare2. (1) Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, NY, (2) SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

Cutinase-mediated polyvinyl acetate deacetylation can be used to remove adhesives from textiles and paper forming water-soluble poly(vinylalcohol-acetate) copolymers that are biodegradable. The work aims to understand the structure-activity relationship of cutinase for new applications in polymer technology. We have begun to explore cutinases from different organisms to investigate the following: (1) whether cutinases are selective for deacetylation, (2) what concentrations of enzyme and substrates are preferred for deacetylation, and (3) what are the kinetic parameters of the reaction. Conditions, such as the temperature and pH, will be monitored throughout reactions to identify optimal conditions for deacetylation. Ultimately, we hope to explore a wide-range of surface modification reactions by cutinase catalysis that will provide mild methods to engineer surface chemistry. The proposed work aims to explore the use of protein-engineered biocatalysts for industrially relevant and ecological bio-refined products.