Folasade Mayowa OLAJUYIGBE

Director, Central Research Laboratory, Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Nigeria and Group Leader, Enzyme and Environmental Biotechnology Research Group, Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, FUTA, NIGERIA

Bifunctional chimeric enzyme system for improved corncob deconstruction

Host: S. Yazdani

Bio: Prof. Folasade M. Olajuyigbe obtained her B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1991, M.Tech. in Applied Biochemistry from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Nigeria in 2002 and PhD in Biochemistry in 2009 under a split-site programme between the Centre of Excellence in Biocrystallography, Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Trieste, Italy and the Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Technology, Akure, (FUTA) Nigeria. She conducted her postdoctoral studies at the University of Florida, United States and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. She rose through the ranks from an Assistant Lecturer in 2003 to Full Professor in 2020 at FUTA.  Prof. Olajuyigbe is a distinguished scientist with expertise in Structural Biology, Enzyme Biotechnology and Environmental Bioremediation. She has made significant contributions to research in structure-based drug design, biofuel production, and bioremediation with about 800 citations of her work. She has an outstanding record of achievements in her field including several distinctions, national and international recognition / awards / fellowships, research grants, and 52 publications in international peer-reviewed journals. She has successfully supervised, trained and mentored several younger scientists on globally relevant projects with active national and international collaborations. She is presently the Director of the Central Research Laboratory, Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria. Prof. Olajuyigbe is the Vice-Chairperson of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), National Chapter, Nigeria.

Abstract: Prof. Folasade M. Olajuyigbe and her research group (Enzyme and Environmental Biotechnology Group) work on microbial and enzymatic breakdown of neglected agricultural wastes in Nigeria which include corncob, coconut husk, wheat bran, rice bran, sawdust, sugarcane bagasse, palm kernel shell, oil palm empty fruit bunch, amongst others for the production of high yield of reducing sugars. The group also develops improved biochemical processes for production of bioenergy from these non – food feedstocks which are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Their quest to develop an alternative and cost-effective method for reducing the lignin component of agro wastes led to the search for indigenous bacterial strains that could valorize lignin. They employ recombinant DNA technology for the overexpression of notable cellulase and ligninolytic enzymes for use in delignification and saccharification of biomass. In collaboration with the Microbial Engineering Group at ICGEB, New Delhi, India, the Enzyme and Environmental Biotechnology Group are working to develop a bifunctional chimeric enzyme from ligninolytic Bacillus subtilis for efficient simultaneous delignification and saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass for improved yield of reducing sugars towards increased and sustainable biofuel production.

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