Enzymatic processes


Our research relates to the use of enzymes or biocatalysts (enzymes integrated on or in a material) for the development of new processes or the enhancement of existing processes. We mainly focus on the impact on the process of the enzymatic reaction kinetics and of the formulation of the biocatalyst and the enzymatic mix. The specificity of our laboratory lies in the use of phenomenological approaches to describe and integrate the effect of the enzymes on the process. Applications are focused on food processing and environnemental engineering. 

In the food sector, enzymes are tested for compound extraction, food preservation, and viscosity control. In the extraction process, for example, enzymatic mixes (amylase, hemicellulase, pectinase…) are studied to replace organic solvent in high added value compound extraction. Typical applications are carotenoids extraction from tomato and gac fruit, and betalaines extraction from prickly pear. 

For environmental purposes, lignolytic enzymes, mainly laccases from Coriolopsis gallicaand Trametes versicolor, are used to help enhancing the biodigestibility of biomass wastes, and for the elimination of micropollutants (bisphenol A, diclophenac, oestrogenes, anthraquinone dyes …) from wastewater. In this last topic a specific attention is devoted to understanding and exploiting the difference of degradation mechanisms observed with various pollutants in order to enhance the global treatment. Practical water treatment with immobilized enzymes are tested in fixed bed and fluidized bed reactors.

Contact: Frédéric Debaste


Selected publications

Debaste, F., Flahaut, S., Penninckx, M., & Songulashvili, G. Using Laccases for Food Preservation, Handbook of Food Bioengineering. Academic Press, 15, 501-541. 2018

Blavier, J., Songulashvili, G., Simon, C., Penninckx, M., Flahaut, S., & Debaste, F. Assessment of methods of detection of water estrogenicity for their use as monitoring tools in a process of estrogenicity removal. Environmental technology, 37(24). 2016

Hautphenne, C., Penninckx, M., & Debaste, F. Product formation from phenolic compounds removal by laccases: A review. Environmental Technology & Innovation, 5, 250-266. 2016

Mai, H.C., Truong, V., & Debaste, F. Optimisation of Enzyme-Assisted Extraction of Oil Rich in Carotenoids from Gac Fruit (Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng). Food Technology and Biotechnology, 51(4), 488-499. 2013


  • Improvement of anaerobic digestion of solid waste: enzymatic hydrolysis

    Bilateral WBI-Tunisie project. PI: Frédéric Debaste

    Funded by WBI
  • MAIMISVAL project

    The general objective of the project is to use woody biomass from the production of maize and miscantus in high added value applications. PI: Frédéric Debaste

    Funded by the Walloon Region (DGO3)