OPTIBIOCAT Insights - Selecting the interesting enzymes

Dr. Zoraide Granchi

13.06.2017 -

OPTIBIOCAT is composed of interesting researchers and practitioners with different backgrounds. In several interviews, we want to introduce them, explain their role in the project and give insights into their work within the project.

Get to know the team behind OPTIBIOCAT – Dr. Zoraide Granchi from GenomeScan

Please introduce yourself and your role in the project

I am Zoraide Granchi and work in Genome Scan as R&D project manager for international projects. GenomeScan is a service provider specialized in DNA and RNA investigations, mainly through sequencing. We work with both research and diagnostic partners. As a research and diagnostic service provider, we have high standards of quality, as certified by our ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. The R&D department focuses on testing and evaluating state-of-the-art technologies with the potential to be implemented in our portfolio. To this end, investigation on non-common species is extremely interesting for the challenges it presents from a technological and bioinformatic point of view. Therefore, the OPTIBIOCAT project immediately sounded extremely interesting for us.

How did you select the fungi? And what did you hope to find when sequencing the fungal RNA samples?

Within the OPTIBIOCAT project, we sequenced and assembled the genome of not previously characterized fungi. The analysed fungal strains were selected for their ability to grow on various substrates usually very hard to degrade. This suggested the presence, within the fungal strain, of new, interesting and most likely extremely powerful enzymes for biomass degradation.

What were your most interesting findings?

After the genome sequencing and assembly, pivotal to every downstream genetic investigation of the fungal species, GenomeScan performed mRNA analysis on the same fungal strains, upon growth on various substrates and conditions. The RNA analysis, and in particular the investigation of messenger RNA (mRNA), allows to have a screenshot of the molecular processes going on within the organism at the moment of harvest. Using this method, coupled with differential expression analysis, we could point out which enzymes are active during growth on a defined substrate instead of another one. Further investigation will follow, performed by the other OPTIBIOCAT partners, but our screening helped to focus the attention on few, interesting enzymes likely to play pivotal roles in biomass degradation.

What opportunities do you see within the OPTIBIOCAT project?  

OPTIBIOCAT has been an interesting endeavour for GenomeScan, since it gave us the opportunity to investigate new species, addressing the challenges related to the sequencing of new fungal strains. Most of the challenge, and the lessons we learned from it, has been related to the analysis of the sequencing data. Furthermore, and at the same time, OPTIBIOCAT was an interesting opportunity for us to enter into contact with a new network of researchers and companies working in the fields of fungi, biomass degradation and industrial production optimization. For the experience gained and the new network created, we evaluate our participation to the OPTIBIOCAT project as extremely fruitful.

Contact Coordinator:

Prof. Vincenza Faraco
Phone: +39 081674315/679895
University of Naples “Federico II” 
Complesso Universitario Monte S. Angelo Via Cintia, 4 
IT-80126 Napoli, Italy

Media Contact:

Laura Griestop
Phone: +49 30 2649 2158
Luetzowstr. 33-36
10785 Berlin, Germany


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