UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Erick's Internship at the Technological University of the Mixteca

10 March 2017

UCL Biochemical Engineering PhD Student Luis Erick Mota Pacheco has just returned from an internship in the Technological University of the Mixteca (UTM, Universidad Tecnologica de la Mixteca), based in Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico. During January and February, a series of Biocatalysis seminars was presented to Food Engineering undergraduate students and Masters in Science of Foods and Natural Products graduate students.

These seminars aimed to explore how scientists produce and apply transketolase for the obtaining of chiral molecules for the pharmaceuticals production, and how these methods can be scaled up to the industry. Moreover, using as an example the bioconversion system of L-arabinose and Lithium hydroxypyruvate for the obtaining of L-glucoheptulose with E. coli transketolase as biocatalyst, two of the main stages during the bioconversion optimisation process were also explored: Enzyme production and enzyme kinetics. The first stage has the objective of maximizing expression and production of enzyme from a bacterial culture, and the second has the objective of studying the kinetic parameters that will lead to the optimisation of the system studied.

These talks were a useful and entertaining way to motivate students to get a broader vision about the relationship and application of the basic concepts learned during their bachelors and masters studies, and to comprehend the important relation between scientific research and industry.

Furthermore, this was a great opportunity for Erick to establish networking relationships with research groups and professors from his alma mater in Oaxaca, Mexico.