University of Vigo (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 6496-6502
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
New educational trends in the field of science and technology are furthering new strategies based on collaborative learning, critical thinking, manipulative activities and team work. Bearing in mind these concepts, a new learning experience in the area of Industrial Enzymology has been developed in a master course. The followed strategy pursued the combination of theoretical concepts of chemical engineering with empirical data related to the production of lipolytic enzymes. These enzymes are triggering a great academic interest due to its enormous versatility to be applied in a plethora of industrial sectors [1]. Since the operation in industrial processes usually involves high temperatures, the finding of thermostable biocatalysts is crucial for achieving efficient outcomes.
A number of hot spots in the northwest of Spain have been recently screened for thermophilic microbial strains with lipolytic activity [2]. Thus, the students tried to obtain these biocatalysts both at plate and flask scale, with an emphasis on the characterization of the microbial growth and the enzyme production. In this way, the learning process covered different stages of the biological process, from sampling and enzyme quantification to cultivation of isolated strains. The students have then faced the typical equipment and techniques commonly used in a research laboratory, as a prior step to approach the modeling of the experimental data. When both steps were carried out by the students. a commercial software such as SuperPro Designer was used as simulation tool. The reasons behind the proposal of this learning strategy for master students are: i) lack of published protocols to obtain extremophilic microbial strains and consortia able to synthesize lipases, and licensing to bring together basic knowledge of industrial microbiology and theoretical concepts of bioprocess modeling, ii) obtaining experimental data to be used for the simulation of the process at industrial scale and iii) explore the research capabilities of the students in a hot topic such as the production of metabolites from extremophiles [3]. The high level of satisfaction among the students (evaluated by means of surveys) and the results of the exams qualifications encourage us to widen the present methodology in the future.

[1] Houde A., Kademi A., Leblanc D. (2004) Lipases and their industrial applications. An overview. Appl. Biochem. Biotechnol. 118, 155-170.
[2] Deive F.J., Álvarez M.A., Sanromán M.A., Longo M.A. (2013) North Western Spain hot springs are a source of lipolytic enzyme-producing thermophilic microorganisms, Bioprocess Biosyst. Eng. 36, 239-250.
[3] Deive F.J., Longo M.A., Sanromán M.A. (2009) Evaluation of a novel Bacillus strain from a Northwestern Spain hot spring as a source of extracellular thermostable lipases. J. Chem. Technol. Biotechnol. 100, 1509-1515.
Teamwork, Manipulative activities, industrial enzymology, extremophiles, lipases, biotechnology.