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VILLANUEVA, Martin Eduardo

Posdoctoral fellow CONICET
Director: Montich, Guillermo G

PhD Thesis Topic

Characterization and evaluation of chitinases as potential biocides

Chitinases are enzymes that degrade chitin, the main component of the exoskeleton and intestine of insects and of the cell wall of some fungi. In recent years, these enzymes have been widely studied due to their potential practical applications in industry. Chitinases then emerge as a tool for the production of biologically active substances and as biocontrollers due to their lytic function. However, from a technological point of view, it is evident that the possibility of controlling reactions that degrade vital components of insects and polymers present in polluting wastes generates the need to know the kinetics, thermodynamics and optimal working conditions of these enzymes. In this project, we study the kinetic, structural and thermodynamic characteristics of reactions catalyzed by chitinases, providing knowledge that allows us to enhance the properties of enzymes in different heterogeneous media and under various conditions. Once the range of optimal conditions for its in vitro activity and the behavior of its activity in the different working conditions has been detected, chitinase formulations suitable for evaluation as larvicide and pediculicide will be developed and characterized.