'Companies Use Enzymes to Change Their Products'
Green, Chris, The Independent (London, England)
Nathaniel Saidu, 25, is doing an MSc in biocatalysis at the University of Exeter
So what is biocatalysis?
It's all about creating chemical reactions in things using naturally occurring catalysts, such as enzymes. It's an important discipline, especially in the cosmetics and food industries, where a lot of companies use enzymes to transform the chemical composition of their products. The subject has been around for a while, but it has started to gain in popularity recently and people are investing a lot of money in it.
Why did you choose this course?
I did biochemistry for my undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey, during which we studied biocatalysis but never really in depth. I was fascinated by how these enzymes could transform one chemical into another, and always wanted to learn more about the process. After my degree, I noticed that Exeter had a biocatalysis centre so I thought I'd come here.
How is it taught?
It's a combination of lectures and your own work. Your supervisors lead you along and tell you what to do and what not to do, and you learn a lot from them, but it's up to you to use your own initiative to do the work.
Is there a research project?
Yes. My topic is about the use of enzymes in the chemical industry. One area is about beauty and cosmetic products, but another is about how chemicals can be used to destroy hazardous and harmful substances such as pollutants. …