A key issue of the research activitiesof Wolfgang Zimmermann is the development of enzyme-related technologies allowing access to a portfolio of novel products directed at the biopharmaceutical, biomaterial and food sectors.

The recent identification of enzymes that degrade plastics previously considered non-biodegradable opens up opportunities to steer the plastic recycling industry into the realm of biotechnology.

  • Born 1953 in Heidelberg, Germany. Studied biochemistry, microbiology and chemistry at the Medizinisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Hochschule Ulm and at the University of Heidelberg, receiving his Diplom degree in 1981 and doctorate in 1984 from the University of Heidelberg.
  • From 1985 to 1987: post-doctoral fellow in biochemistry at the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology, UK.
  • From 1988 to 1993: assistant professor and head of the Enzyme Technology Section at the Department of Biotechnology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland.
  • From 1993 to 1999: Professor in Biotechnology at Aalborg University, Denmark and from 1999 to 2004 Professor and Chair in Bioprocess Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany.
  • From 2005 to 2019: Professor and Chair in Microbiology and Bioprocess Technology, Leipzig University, Germany.
  • Since 2019: Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Leipzig University, Germany.

A key issue of the research activities is the development of enzyme-related technologies allowing access to a portfolio of novel products directed at the biopharmaceutical, biomaterial and food sectors.

In the area of polymer biotechnology, the application of biocatalysis for the modification and degradation of synthetic polymers is investigated. Enzymes are playing a growing role in polymer processing. Recent progress has demonstrated the biocatalytic functionalization of polymers with applications in textile or electronic industries and the enzymatic hydrolysis of post-consumer plastic waste for novel environmentally benign recycling processes.

While chemical synthesis of carbohydrates is often hampered by their intrinsic structural complexity, enzymes can be employed as efficient and powerful tools for the synthesis and modification of carbohydrates. By carbohydrate bioengineering, we are aiming at the identification of oligosaccharides and carbohydrate-derived products with industrial application value.

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Publication Orcid

  • Noël S, Bricout H, Addad A, Sonnendecker C, Zimmermann W, Monflier E, Léger, B (2020) Catalytic reduction of 4-nitrophenol with gold nanoparticles stabilized by large-ring cyclodextrins. New Journal of Chemistry 44, 21007-21011.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/D0NJ03687K
  • Zimmermann W (2020) Degradation of plastics by fungi. Reference Module in Life Sciences. 
    https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-819990-9.00005-6
  • Zimmermann W (2020) Biocatalytic recycling of polyethylene terephthalate plastic. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 378: 20190273. 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2019.0273
  • Tiso T, Narancic T, Wei R, Pollet E, Beagan N, Schröder K, Honak A, Jiang M, Kenny ST, Wierckx N, Perrin R, Avérous L, Zimmermann W, O´Connor K, Blank LM, (2020) Bio-upcycling of polyethylene terephthalate. BioRxiv 
    https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.16.993592
  • Falkenstein P, Gräsing D, Bielytskyi P, Zimmermann W, Matysik J, Wei R, Song C (2020) UV pretreatment impairs the enzymatic degradation of polyethylene terephthalate. Frontiers Microbiology 11:689 
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.00689
  • Tiso T, Ballerstedt H, Eberlein C, Zimmermann W, Wierckx N, Blank LM (2020) Von Plastikmüll zu Plastikwertstoffen – Polymerrecycling neu gedacht. Biospektrum 26, 212-214 
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s12268-020-1349-7
  • Nawrath, MM, Ottenheim, C, Wu, JC, Zimmermann, W (2020) Pantoea sp. P37 as a novel nonpathogenic host for the heterologous production of rhamnolipids. MicrobiologyOpen. 2020; 9:e1019. 
    https://doi.org/10.1002/mbo3.1019

2019

  • Wei R, Song C, Gräsing D, Schneider T, Matysik J, Böttcher D, Bornscheuer U, Zimmermann W (2019) Conformational fitting of a flexible oligomeric substrate does not explain the enzymatic PET degradation. Nature Comm 10, 5581 
    https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13492-9
  • Wei R, Breite D, Song C, Gräsing D, Ploss T, Hille P, Schwerdtfeger R, Matysik J, Schulze A, Zimmermann W (2019) Biocatalytic degradation efficiency of postconsumer polyethylene terephthalate packaging determined by their polymer microstructures. Advanced Science 6(14), 1900491 
    https://doi.org/10.1002/advs.201900491
  • Salvador M, Abdulmutalib U, Gonzalez J, Kim J, Smith AA, Faulon J-L, Wei R, Zimmermann W, Jimenez JI (2019) Microbial Genes for a Circular and Sustainable Bio-PET Economy. Genes 10(5), 373 
    https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10050373 
  • Sonnendecker C, Thürmann S, Przybylski C, Zitzmann FD, Heinke N, Krauke Y, Monks K, Robitzki A, Belder D, Zimmermann W (2019) Large-Ring Cyclodextrins as Chiral Selectors for Enantiomeric Pharmaceuticals. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.58, 6411-6414 
    https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201900911 
  • Sonnendecker C, Zimmermann W (2019) Change of the Product Specificity of a Cyclodextrin Glucanotransferase by Semi-Rational Mutagenesis to Synthesize Large-Ring Cyclodextrins. Catalysts 9, 242  
    https://doi.org/10.3390/catal9030242
  • Sonnendecker C, Zimmermann W (2019) Domain shuffling to taylor the product specificity and thermal stability of cyclodextrin glucanotransferases. FEBS Open Bio 9, 384-395 
    https://doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.12588
  • Belisário-Ferrari MR, Wei R, Schneider T, Honak A, Zimmermann W (2019) Fast turbidimetric assay for analyzing the enzymatic hydrolysis of polyethylene terephthalate model substrates. Biotechnology Journal 14(4):1800272 
    https://doi.org/10.1002/biot.201800272

2018

  • Rakchai N, H-Kittikun A, Zimmermann W. 2018. Production of whole-cell lipase from Aspergillus nomius ST57 and optimization of methyl esters synthesis from palm oil in one step. Chiang Mai Journal of Science 45, 746-761.
  • Ng HS, Tan GYT, Lee K-H, Zimmermann W, Yim HS, Lan JC-W. 2018. Direct recovery of mangostins from Garcinia mangostana pericarps using cellulase-assisted aqueous micellar biphasic system with recyclable surfactant. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering 126, 507-513. 
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiosc.2018.04.008
  • Sonnendecker C, Melzer S, Zimmermann W. 2018. Engineered cyclodextrin glucanotransferases from Bacillus sp. G‐825‐6 produce large‐ring cyclodextrins with high specificity. MicrobiologyOpen 
    https://doi.org/10.1002/mbo3.757
  • Wierckx N, Narancic T, Eberlein C, Wei R, Drzyzga O, Magnin A, Ballerstedt H, Kenny ST, Pollet E, Avérous L, O’Connor KW, Zimmermann W, Heipieper HJ, Prieto A, Jiménez J, Blank LM. 2018. Plastic Biodegradation: Challenges and Opportunities. In: Steffan R. (eds) Consequences of Microbial Interactions with Hydrocarbons, Oils, and Lipids: Biodegradation and Bioremediation. Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology. Springer, Cham. 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-44535-9_23-1
  • Danso D, Schmeisser C, Chow J, Zimmermann W, Wei R, Leggewie C, Li X, Hazen T, Streit WR. 2018. New insights into the function and global distribution of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) degrading bacteria and enzymes in marine and terrestrial metagenomes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology84:e02773-17 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.02773-17

2017

  • Sonnendecker C, Wei R, Kurze E, Wang J, Oeser T, Zimmermann W. 2017. Efficient extracellular recombinant production and purification of a Bacilluscyclodextrin glucanotransferase in Escherichia coliMicrobial Cell Factories16:87 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12934-017-0701-1
  • Wei R, Zimmermann W. 2017. Biocatalysis as a green route for recycling the recalcitrant plastic polyethylene terephthalate. Microbial Biotechnology10(6):1302-1307 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1751-7915.12714
  • Wei R, Zimmermann W. 2017. Microbial enzymes for the recycling of recalcitrant petroleum-based plastics: how far are we? Microbial Biotechnology10(6):1308-1322 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1751-7915.12710
  • Schmidt J, Wei R, Oeser T, Dedavid e Silva LA, Breite D, Schulze A, Zimmermann W. 2017. Degradation of polyester polyurethane by bacterial polyester hydrolases. Polymers 9(2): 65 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/polym9020065
  • Roth C, Weizenmann N, Bexten N, Saenger W, Zimmermann W, Maier T, Sträter N. 2017. Amylose recognition and ring-size determination of amylomaltase. Science Advances 3(1): e1601386 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1601386
  • Tan GYT, Zimmermann W, Lee K-H, Lan JC-W, Yim HS, Ling TC, Ng HS. 2017. Recovery of mangostins from Garcinia mangostana peels with an aqueous micellar biphasic system. Food and Bioproducts Processing 102:233-240 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fbp.2016.12.016

2016

  • Rakchai N, H-Kittikun A, Zimmermann W. 2016. The production of immobilized whole-cell lipase from Aspergillus nomius ST57 and the enhancement of the synthesis of fatty acid methyl esters using a two-step reaction. Journal of Molecular Catalysis B: Enzymatic 133 (Supplement 1): S128-S136 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcatb.2016.12.006
  • Assaf KI, Gabela D, Zimmermann W, Nau WM. 2016. High-affinity host–guest chemistry of large-ring cyclodextrins. Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry 14:7702-7706 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c6ob01161f
  • Schmidt J, Wei R, Oeser T, Belisário-Ferrari MR, Barth M, Then J, Zimmermann W. 2016. Effect of Tris, MOPS and phosphate buffers on the hydrolysis of polyethylene terephthalate films by polyester hydrolases. FEBS Open Bio6(9):919-927 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.12097
  • Barth M, Honak A, Oeser T, Wei R, Belisário-Ferrari MR, Then J, Schmidt J, Zimmermann W. 2016. A dual enzyme system composed of a polyester hydrolase and a carboxylesterase enhances the biocatalytic degradation of polyethylene terephthalate films. Biotechnology Journal 11(8):1082-1087 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/biot.201600008
  • Then J, Wei R, Oeser T, Gerdts A, Schmidt J, Barth M, Zimmermann W. 2016. A disulfide bridge in the calcium binding site of a polyester hydrolase increases its thermal stability and activity against polyethylene terephthalate. FEBS Open Bio 6(5):425-432 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.12053
  • Wei R, Oeser T, Schmidt J, Meier R, Barth M, Then J, Zimmermann W. 2016. Engineered bacterial polyester hydrolases efficiently degrade polyethylene terephthalate due to relieved product inhibition. Biotechnology and Bioengineering113(8):1658-1665
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bit.25941

2015

  • Barth M, Wei R, Oeser T, Then J, Schmidt J, Wohlgemuth F, Zimmermann W. 2015. Enzymatic Hydrolysis of polyethylene terephthalate films in an ultrafiltration membrane reactor. Journal of Membrane Science 194:182–187 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2015.07.030
  • Melzer S, Sonnendecker C, Föllner C, Zimmermann W. 2015. Step wise error-prone PCR and DNA shuffling changed the pH activity range and product specifity of the cyclodextrin glucanotransferase from an alkaliphilic Bacillus sp. FEBS Open Bio 5(1):528–534 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fob.2015.06.002
  • Barth M, Oeser T, Wei R, Then J, Schmidt J, Zimmermann W. 2015. Effect of hydrolysis products on the enzymatic degradation of polyethylene terephthalate nanoparticles by a polyester hydrolase from Thermobifida fuscaBiochemical Engineering Journal 93:222–228 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bej.2014.10.012
  • Ottenheim C, Werner KA, Zimmermann W, Wu JC. 2015. Improved endoxylanase production and colony morphology of Aspergillus niger DSM 26641 by γ-ray induced mutagenesis. Biochemical Engineering Journal 94:9–14 
    http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa2-168540
  • Wang J, Wei R, Tian J, Yang N, Xu X, Zimmermann W, Jin Z. 2015. Multi-wavelength colorimetric determination of large-ring cyclodextrin content for the cyclization activity of 4-α-glucanotransferase. Carbohydrate Polymers122:329–335 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.12.010
  • Then J, Wei R, Oeser T, Barth M, Belisario-Ferrari MR, Schmidt J, Zimmermann W. 2015. Ca2+ and Mg2+ binding site engineering increases the degradation of polyethylene terephthalate films by polyester hydrolases from Thermobifida fuscaBiotechnology Journal 10:592–598 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/biot.201400620
  • Ottenheim C, Meyer K, Zimmermann W, Wu JC. 2015. Isolation of filamentous fungi exhibiting high endoxylanase activity in lignocellulose hydrolysate. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 175:2066–2074 
    http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa2-168554
  • Berezina N, Yada B, Godfroid T, Senechal T, Wei R, Zimmermann W. 2015. Enzymatic surface treatment of poly (3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB), and poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV). Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology 90:2036–2039 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jctb.4513

2014

  • Barth M, Wei R, Oeser T, Then J, Schmidt J, Wohlgemuth F, Zimmermann W. 2015. Enzymatic Hydrolysis of polyethylene terephthalate films in an ultrafiltration membrane reactor. Journal of Membrane Science 194:182–187 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2015.07.030
  • Melzer S, Sonnendecker C, Föllner C, Zimmermann W. 2015. Step wise error-prone PCR and DNA shuffling changed the pH activity range and product specifity of the cyclodextrin glucanotransferase from an alkaliphilic Bacillus sp. FEBS Open Bio 5(1):528–534 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fob.2015.06.002
  • Barth M, Oeser T, Wei R, Then J, Schmidt J, Zimmermann W. 2015. Effect of hydrolysis products on the enzymatic degradation of polyethylene terephthalate nanoparticles by a polyester hydrolase from Thermobifida fuscaBiochemical Engineering Journal 93:222–228 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bej.2014.10.012
  • Ottenheim C, Werner KA, Zimmermann W, Wu JC. 2015. Improved endoxylanase production and colony morphology of Aspergillus niger DSM 26641 by γ-ray induced mutagenesis. Biochemical Engineering Journal 94:9–14 
    http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa2-168540
  • Wang J, Wei R, Tian J, Yang N, Xu X, Zimmermann W, Jin Z. 2015. Multi-wavelength colorimetric determination of large-ring cyclodextrin content for the cyclization activity of 4-α-glucanotransferase. Carbohydrate Polymers122:329–335 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.12.010
  • Then J, Wei R, Oeser T, Barth M, Belisario-Ferrari MR, Schmidt J, Zimmermann W. 2015. Ca2+ and Mg2+ binding site engineering increases the degradation of polyethylene terephthalate films by polyester hydrolases from Thermobifida fuscaBiotechnology Journal 10:592–598 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/biot.201400620
  • Ottenheim C, Meyer K, Zimmermann W, Wu JC. 2015. Isolation of filamentous fungi exhibiting high endoxylanase activity in lignocellulose hydrolysate. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 175:2066–2074  
    http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa2-168554
  • Berezina N, Yada B, Godfroid T, Senechal T, Wei R, Zimmermann W. 2015. Enzymatic surface treatment of poly (3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB), and poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV). Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology 90:2036–2039 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jctb.4513

2013

2012

  • Srisimarat W, Kaulpiboon J, Krusong K, Zimmermann W, Pongsawasdi P. 2012. Altered large-ring cyclodextrin product profile due to a mutation at Tyr-172 in the amylomaltase of Corynebacterium glutamicumApplied and Environmental Microbiology 78:7223–7228 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/aem.01366-12
  • Wei R, Oeser T, Billig S, Zimmermann W. 2012. A high-throughput assay for enzymatic polyester hydrolysis activity by fluorimetric detection. Biotechnology Journal 7:1517–1521 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/biot.201200119
  • Chaiyaso T, Seesuriyachan P, Zimmermann W, H-Kittikun A. 2012. Purification and characterization of  lipase from newly isolated Burkholderia multivorans PSU-AH130 and its application for biodiesel production. Annals of Microbiology 62:1615–1624 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13213-011-0418-z
  • H-Kittikun A, Prasertsan P, Zimmermann W, Seesuriyachan P, Chaiyaso T. 2012. Sugar ester synthesis by thermostable lipase from Streptomyces thermocarboxydus ME168. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 166:1969–1982 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12010-012-9624-9

2011

  • Zimmermann W, Billig S. 2011. Enzymes for the biofunctionalization of poly(ethylene terephthalate). Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology 125:97–120 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/10_2010_87
  • Herrero Acero E, Ribitsch D, Steinkellner G, Gruber K, Greimel K, Eiteljoerg I, Trotscha E, Wei R, Zimmermann W, Zinn M, Cavaco-Paulo A, Freddi G, Schwab H, Guebitz G. 2011. Enzymatic surface hydrolysis of PET: effect of structural diversity on kinetic properties of cutinases from ThermobifidaMacromolecules 44:4632–4640 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ma200949p
  • Ellouze F, Amar NB, Mokhtar MN, Zimmermann W, Deratani A. 2011. Fractionation of homologous CD6 to CD60 cyclodextrin mixture by ultrafiltration and nanofiltration. Journal of Membrane Science 374:129–137 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2011.03.025
  • Yenpetch W, Packdibamrung K, Zimmermann W, Pongsawasdi P. 2011. Biochemical properties and cyclodextrin production profiles of isoforms of cyclodextrin glycosyltransferase. Journal of Inclusion Phenomena and Macrocyclic Chemistry 70:377–383 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10847-010-9856-7
  • Srisimarat W, Powviriyakul A, Kaulpiboon J, Krusong K, Zimmermann W, Pongsawasdi P. 2011. A novel amylomaltase from Corynebacterium glutamicumand analysis of the large-ring cyclodextrin products. Journal of Inclusion Phenomena and Macrocyclic Chemistry 70:369–375 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10847-010-9890-5
  • Yenpetch W, Packdibamrung K, Zimmermann W, Pongsawasdi P. 2011. Evidence of the involvement of asparigine deamidation in the formation of cyclodextrin glycosyltransferase isoforms in Paenibacillus sp. RB01. Molecular Biotechnology 47:234–242 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12033-010-9337-7

2010

  • Billig S, Oeser T, Birkemeyer C, Zimmermann W. 2010. Hydrolysis of cyclic poly(ethylene terephthalate) trimers by a carboxylesterase from Thermobifida fusca KW3. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 87:1753–1764 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00253-010-2635-y
  • Dittmann M, Sauermann J, Seidel R, Zimmermann W, Engelhard M. 2010. Native chemical ligation of hydrophobic peptides in organic solvents. Journal of Peptide Science 16:558–562 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/psc.1285
  • Oeser T, Wei R, Baumgarten T, Billig S, Föllner C, Zimmermann W. 2010. High level expression of a hydrophobic poly(ethylene terephthalate)-hydrolyzing carboxylesterase from Thermobifida fusca KW3 in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3). Journal of Biotechnology 146:100–104 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiotec.2010.02.006
  • Chen S, Wu J, Su L, Billig S, Zimmermann W, Chen J. 2010. Biochemical characterization of the cutinases from Thermobifida fuscaJournal of Molecular Catalysis B: Enzymatic 63:121–127 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcatb.2010.01.001
  • Kaulpiboon J, Pongsawasdi P, Zimmermann W. 2010. Altered product specificity of a cyclodextrin glycosyltransferase by molecular imprinting with cyclomaltododecaose. Journal of Molecular Recognition 23: 480–485 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmr.1015
  • Korpecka J, Heumann S, Billig S, Zimmermann W, Zinn M, Ihssen J, Cavaco-Paulo A, Guebitz G. 2010. Hydrolysis of cutin by PET-hydrolases. Macromolecular Symposia 296:342–346 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/masy.2010510472010

2008

  • Feuerhack A, Alisch-Mark M, Kisner A, Pezzin S, Zimmermann W, Andreaus J. 2008. Biocatalytic surface modification of knitted fabrics made of poly(ethylene terephthalate) with hydrolytic enzymes from Thermobifida fusca KW3b. Biocatalysis and Biotransformation, 26:357-364. 
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10242420802360948

2007

  • Endo T, Ogawa, N, Nagase H, Sambo H, Takaha T, Terada Y, Zimmermann W, Ueda H. 2007. Production of large-ring cyclodextrins composed of 9-21 a-D-glucanopyranose units by cyclodextrin glucanotransferase – effects of incubation temperature and molecular weight of amylose. Heterocycles 74:991-997.
  • Nimchua T, Punnapayak H, Zimmermann W. 2007. Comparison of the hydrolysis of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibers by a hydrolase from Fusarium oxysporum LCH1 and Fusarium solani f. sp. pisiBiotechnology Journal, 2:361-364.
  • Qi Q, Mokhtar MN, Zimmermann W. 2007. Effect of ethanol on the synthesis of large-ring cyclodextrins by cyclodextrin glucanotransferases. Journal of Inclusion Phenomena and Macrocyclic Chemistry, 57:95-99.
  • Kaulpiboon J, Pongsawasdi P, Zimmermann W. 2007. Molecular imprinting of cyclodextrin-glycosyltransferases from Paenibacillus sp. A11 and Bacillus macerans with g-cyclodextrin. FEBS Journal, 274:1001–1010.

2006

  • Chaiyaso T, H-Kittikun A, Zimmermann W. 2006. Biocatalytic acylation of carbohydrates with fatty acids from palm fatty acid distillates. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology, 33:338-342.
  • Alisch-Mark M, Herrmann A, Zimmermann W. 2006. Increase of the hydrophilicity of polyethylene fibres by hydrolases from Thermomonospora fusca and Fusarium solani f. sp. pisiBiotechnology Letters, 28: 681-685.

2005

  • Andreaus J, Barcellos IO, Blosfeld AM, Josefowicz M, Fischer CH, Wilhelm S, Budag N, Alisch M, Zimmermann W. 2005. Modificação quimica e biocatalítica de poliéster. Química Têxtil 79:55-66.
  • Qi Q, Zimmermann W. 2005. Cyclodextrin glucanotransferase: from gene to application. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 66:475-485.

2004 and earlier

  • Alisch M, Feuerhack A, Müller, H, Mensak, B, Andreaus J, Zimmermann W. 2004. Biocatalytic modification of polyethylene terephthalate fibres by esterases from actinomycete isolates. Biocatalysis and Biotransformation 22:347-351.
  • Qi Q,  She X, Endo T, Zimmermann W. 2004. Effect of the reaction temperature on the transglycosylation reactions catalyzed by the cyclodextrin glucanotransferase from Bacillus macerans for the synthesis of large-ring cyclodextrins. Tetrahedron 60:799-806.
  • Zheng M, Endo T, Zimmermann W. 2002. Synthesis of large-ring cyclodextrins by cyclodextrin glucanotransferases from bacterial isolates. Journal of Inclusion Phenomena and Macrocyclic Chemistry 44:387-390.
  • Endo T, Zheng M, Zimmermann W. 2002. Production and analysis of large-ring cyclodextrins. Aust J Chem 55:39-48.
  • Degn P, Zimmermann W. 2001. Optimisation of carbohydrate fatty acid ester synthesis in organic media by a lipase from Candida antarcticaBiotechnology and Bioengineering 74:483-491.
  • Duedahl-Olesen L, Kragh KM, Zimmermann W. 2000. Purification and characterisation of a malto-oligosaccharide-forming amylase active at high pH from Bacillus clausii BT-21.  Carbohydrate Research 329:97-107.
  • Degn P, Larsen KL, Duus JO, Petersen BO, Zimmermann W. 2000. Two-step enzymatic synthesis of malto-oligosaccharide  esters. Carbohydrate Research 329:57-63.
  • Duedahl-Olesen L, Larsen KL, Zimmermann W. 2000. Rapid detection of malto-oligosaccharide-forming bacterial amylases by high performance anion-exchange chromatography. Letters in Applied Microbiology 30:312-316.
  • Reuter S, Nygaard AR, Zimmermann W. 1999. b-Galactooligosaccharide synthesis with b-galactosidases from Sulfolobus solfataricusAspergillus oryzae, and Escherichia coliEnzyme and Microbial Technology 25:509-516.
  • Degn P, Pedersen LH, Duus JØ, Zimmermann W. 1999. Lipase-catalyzed synthesis of glucose fatty acid esters in tert-butanol. Biotechnology Letters, 21:275-280.
  • Larsen KL, Zimmermann W. 1999. Analysis and characterization of cyclodextrins and their inclusion complexes by affinity capillary electrophoresis. Journal of Chromatography A 836:3-14.
  • Duedahl-Olesen L, Zimmermann W, Delcour JA. 1999. Effects of low molecular weight carbohydrates on farinograph characteristics and staling endotherms of yeastless wheat flour doughs. Cereal Chemistry 76:227-230.
  • Mørkbak AL, Degn P, Zimmermann W. 1999. Deinking of soy bean oil based ink printed paper with lipases and a neutral surfactant. Journal of Biotechnology 67:229-236.
  • Bassompierre M, Børresen T, Sandfield P, Rønsholdt B, Zimmermann W, McLean E. 1997. An evaluation of open and closed systems for in vitro protein digestion of fish meal. Aquaculture Nutrition 3:153-159.
  • Pedersen LH, Christensen HJS, Mathiesen F, Larsen KL and Zimmermann W. 1997. Interference of cyclodextrins with amylolytic activity assays of cyclodextrin glycosyltransferases. Starch 49:250-253.
  • Larsen KL, Mathiesen F, Zimmermann W. 1997. Separation and analysis of cyclodextrins by capillary zone electrophoresis. Carbohydrate Research 298:59-63.
  • Kildemark N, Larsen KL, Zimmermann W. 1996. Complex formation of unsaturated cyclodextrin solutions with various polymers. Journal of Inclusion Phenomena and Molecular Recognition in Chemistry 25:89-92.
  • Hilge M, Gloor S, Winterhalter, K, Zimmermann W, Piontek K. 1996. Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of two beta-mannanase isoforms from Thermomonospora fusca KW3. Acta Crystallographica  D52:1224-1225.
  • Brühlmann F, Kim K, Zimmermann W, Fiechter A. 1994.  Pectinolytic enzymes from actinomycetes for the degumming of ramie bast fibres. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 60:2107-2112.
  • Zhou W, Winter B, Zimmermann W. 1993. Dechlorination of high-molecular-mass compounds in spent sulfite bleach effluents by free and immobilized cells of streptomycetes. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 39: 418-423.
  • Zhou W, Zimmermann W. 1993. Decolorization of industrial effluents containing reactive dyes by actinomycetes. FEMS Microbiology Letters 107:157-162.
  • Studer M, Flück K, Zimmermann W. 1992. Production of endo- and exochitinases by Aphanocladium album grown on crystalline and colloidal chitin. FEMS Microbiology Letters 99:213-216.
  • Röthlisberger P, Fiechter A, Zimmermann W. 1992.  Production of thermostable xylanases in batch and continuous cultures by Thermomonospora fusca KW3. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 37:416-419.
  • Tajana E, Fiechter A, Zimmermann W. 1992. Purification and characterization of two alpha-L-arabinofuranosidases from Streptomyces diastaticusApplied and Environmental Microbiology 58:1447-1450.
  • Mliki A, Zimmermann W. 1992. Purification and characterization of an intracellular peroxidase from Streptomyces cyaneusApplied and Environmental Microbiology 58:916-919.
  • Zimmermann W. 1991. Enzymic solubilisation of [14C]-lignin-labeled lignocellulose. Mitteilungen BFA für Forst- und Holzwirtschaft Hamburg168:167-170.
  • Constam D, Muheim A, Zimmermann W., Fiechter A. 1991. Purification and characterization of an intracellular NADH:quinone oxidoreductase from P. chrysosporiumJournal of  General  Microbiology 137:2209-2214.
  • Winter B, Fiechter A, Zimmermann W. 1991. Degradation of organochlorine compounds in spent sulfite bleach plant effluents by actinomycetes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 57:2858-2863.
  • Zimmermann W. 1990. Degradation of lignin by bacteria. Journal of Biotechnology 13:119-130.
  • Zimmermann W. 1989. The lignin biopolymer: products and potential applications of lignin biodegrading systems. Chimia 43:396-403.
  • Zimmermann W, Broda P. 1989. Utilization of lignocellulose from barley straw by actinomycetes. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 30:103-109.
  • Zimmermann W, Umezawa T, Broda P, Higuchi T. 1988. Degradation of a non-phenolic arylglycerol beta-aryl ether by Streptomyces cyaneusFEBS Letters 239:5-7.
  • Zimmermann W, Winter B, Broda P. 1988. Xylanolytic enzyme activities produced by mesophilic and thermophilic actinomycetes grown on graminaceous xylan and lignocellulose. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 55:181-186.
  • Mason JC, Richards M, Zimmermann W, Broda P. 1988. Identification of extracellular proteins from actinomycetes responsible for the solubilisation of lignocellulose. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 28:276-280.
  • Zimmermann W, Nimz H, Seemüller E. 1985. 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopic study of extracts from corks of Rubus idaeusSolanum tuberosum, and Quercus suberHolzforschung 39:45-49.
  • Zimmermann W, Seemüller E. 1984. Degradation of raspberry suberin by Fusarium solani f. sp. pisi and Armillaria melleaPhytopathologische Zeitschrift 110:192-199.
  • Fernando G, Zimmermann W, Kolattukudy PE. 1984. Suberin-grown Fusarium solani f. sp. pisi generates a cutinase-like esterase which depolymerizes the aliphatic components of suberin. Physiological Plant Pathology 24:143- 155.

Projects

Flexibility of amino acid residues of a polyester hydrolase.

Docking studies of a PET dimer with polyester hydrolases were used as a tool to predict the ligand orientation as well as the binding affinity between ligand and receptor. These data have been used as a guide for the design of more active and selective biocatalysts.

 

Smooth surfaces created on PET fibres (right picture) by removal of surface PET oligomers (left picture) with a polyester hydrolase.

Biocatalysts active on synthetic polymers can be used to modify the properties of synthetic textiles and to produce new multi-functional materials for applications in the textile, electronic, and biomedical industry.

Biocatalytic recycling of plastic waste by an ultrafiltration membrane reactor.

The contamination of the environment by plastic wastes has become a global issue. Applying biotechnlogy to recycle this material by biocatalysis is a novel approach to mitigate this problem. The enzymatic hydrolysis of synthetic polymers such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyurethane (PU) by enzymes still remains a challange due to the high recalcitrance of their structures against biological attack. 

The enzymatic hydrolysis of post-consumer PET materials to their monomeric building blocks is investigated as an alternative to chemical recycling processes. A portfolio of polyester hydrolases is available for the development of biocatalytic recycling processes.

Bioreactors have been developed for the rapid hydrolysis of low-crystalline post consumer PET to the monomers terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol.

CD8, a cyclodextrin composed of eight glucose units.

Cyclic oligosaccharides such as cyclodextrins with molecular recognition properties are becoming important tools as drug delivery systems, in biomaterial science and in nanobiotechnology. They find applications in the pharmaceutical, food, and chemical industry sectors. Other carbohydrate-derived products such as biosurfactants can be utilized as components of food, health, and cosmetic products.

This group of compounds can be produced from renewable biomass such as sugars and starches, offering environmental advantage over petrochemical-based products.

Biosynthetic cyclic oligosaccharides such as cyclodextrins are becoming important tools in drug delivery and controlled release systems. Due to their molecular recognition properties, cyclodextrins can be used as building blocks for nanoscale structures with applications in biomaterial science and as functional units such as sensors in nanobiotechnology.

We have developed methods for the analysis of cyclodextrins and have identified a range of bacterial cyclic oligosaccharide-producing glucanotransferases. The ability of these enzymes to synthesize novel cyclodextrins, cyclic alpha-1,4-glucans composed of eight to more than several hundred glucopyranose units is investigated. This work involves the engineering of their cyclization activity and product specificity by site directed mutagenesis and directed evolution, the application of molecular imprinting techniques, and the development of enzymatic bioprocesses for their production.

Model of CGTase with bound substrate. The glucan substrate winds around a central amino acid (grey). The leaving group (green) and the acceptor (blue) are highlighted.

Biosynthetic cyclic oligosaccharides such as cyclodextrins are becoming important tools in drug delivery and controlled release systems. Due to their molecular recognition properties, cyclodextrins can be used as building blocks for nanoscale structures with applications in biomaterial science and as functional units such as sensors in nanobiotechnology.

We have developed methods for the analysis of cyclodextrins and have identified a range of bacterial cyclic oligosaccharide-producing glucanotransferases. The ability of these enzymes to synthesize novel cyclodextrins, cyclic alpha-1,4-glucans composed of eight to more than several hundred glucopyranose units is investigated. This work involves the engineering of their cyclization activity and product specificity by site directed mutagenesis and directed evolution, the application of molecular imprinting techniques, and the development of enzymatic bioprocesses for their production.

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