The focus of our Carbohydrate Enzymology Research Group is to understand the way in which particular enzymes act to alter the structure of polysaccharides found in biomass (especially plant cell walls and wood fibers), and to harness these enzymes for applications. We are primarily interested in the carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) which synthesize, re-arrange, and degrade glycosidic bonds. Studies of carbohydrate oxidases involved in polysaccharide functionalisation comprise another primary research area.
In the biological context, we aim to elucidate the molecular details of polysaccharide synthesis and deconstruction in:
- biogenesis of plant cell walls
- recycling of biomass in the global carbon cycle
- breakdown of dietary fibre (non-starch polysaccharides) by the human gut microbiota
[An excellent popular science overview of our research in this area, including an animated video and an audio interview with Prof. Brumer, has been produced by UBC SCIE300 students – click here to check it out.]
The discovery and characterisation of new enzymes involved in these processes provides a foundation for the development of enzyme technology for the improved use of renewable biomass resources in the forest products, agricultural, and textile industries.
Please see Prof Brumer’s homepage at the Michael Smith Laboratories line: http://www.msl.ubc.ca/faculty/brumer for more information on his group’s research.