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Iasson Tozakidis was born on 30. April 1987 in Lippstadt, Germany, and studied Chemistry at the Westphalian Wilhelms-University in Münster, Germany.
His focus lay on the topics organic synthesis, catalysis as well as biochemistry. After finishing his diploma thesis, he decided to combine these interests and work in the field of biocatalysis. Since October 2012, Iasson Tozakidis is PhD student in the group of Prof. Dr. Joachim Jose at the Institute of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal, working on the development of a new bio-ethanol production route. Iasson Tozakidis is fellow of the NRW Graduate School of Chemistry (www.gsc-ms.de). Since January 2015, his work is funded by the Reiner Lemoine foundation.
The worldwide steadily increasing fuel demand, an advancing depletion of crude oil stocks and environmental concerns have lead to big efforts in the development of alternative fuels derived from biomass. Especially the production of bio-ethanol as a convenient substitute for conventional fuels has recently attracted much research activity. Up to now, most of the bio-ethanol is produced from corn starch or sugar cane, which raises ethical concerns about the use of edible crops for fuel production. Cellulose from plant biomass as an abundantly available bio-polymer represents a sustainable alternative feedstock for ethanol production since it is considered a waste product and does not compete with food production. However, to date there are no economic and industrially feasible processes known that break down its stable polymeric structure and convert it to ethanol. In this PhD thesis, a new approach is being developed which takes advantage of the Autodisplay technology to immobilize cellulose-degrading enzymes (cellulases) on the surface of the ethanol-producing bacteria Zymomonas mobilis and Zymobacter palmae. Such modified organisms would be capable of performing enzyme production, cellulose breakdown and fermentation to ethanol in one single step. Thereby the expensive process of enzyme purification could be avoided and ethanol-production from cellulose made more economic due to the reusability of the catalytic system. Finally, the potential of the created catalytic system in terms of its performance and possible improvements will be evaluated.