PepTrap™ Enzyme Immobilization Platform

PepTrap™ Enzyme Immobilization Platform

Technology Description

Enzymes as industrial biocatalysts offer many advantages over traditional chemical processes regarding sustainability and efficiency. The use of enzyme immobilization technologies has greatly improved the scale-up potential of bio-catalytic processes within industrial applications. However, despite the advantages of enzyme immobilization technologies, enzyme immobilization must drastically improve the economics of existing industrial processes. Implementation of a successful enzyme immobilization platform will depend on optimizing the structure-function relationship of enzyme-based conjugates while minimizing the production costs of the components. PepTrap allows for the functional immobilization of histidine tagged enzymes to NiO nanoparticles (NPs) which are immobilized within a porous cellulose matrix.

The innovation described is a novel device for the functional immobilization of enzymes on a microporous cellulose matrix. The enzyme immobilization is based on a coordinate covalent bond between a histidine tagged enzyme and NiO nanoparticles (NPs). Prior to enzyme immobilization the NPs are immobilized onto the cellulose matrix, allowing for a one-step purification and immobilization of a histidine tagged enzyme.

Target Industries

  • Food and beverage
  • Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing
  • Water purification and bioremediation
  • Bio-sensors
  • Enzyme analytics

Unique Features/Benefits

  • Easy separation of product and enzyme.
  • Retained activity of immobilized enzyme after immobilization and repeated use.
  • Easily mass produced using a simple chemical modification of cotton wool.
  • No leaching of enzymes.
  • Applications in both enzyme analytics for laboratories or industrial processes.
  • Fraction of the cost compared to other enzyme immobilization technologies.
  • Based on a strong coordinate covalent bond between the histidine tag and the NPs.
  • Potentially could increase the enzyme activity and efficiency.
  • Three-dimensional and housed within a closed system that can exist as a single reaction vessel or multiple reaction vessels in series.
  • Easily integratable into existing industrial bio-catalytic processes. 


Innovation Status

A priority patent application has been filed in the UK. GB2009513.9. A PCT application has been filed.

Principal Researchers

  • Dominic Nicholas, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science.
  • Nicholas Enslin, Department of Genetics, Faculty of AgriScience.
  • Ethan Hunter, Department of Genetics, Faculty of AgriScience.
  • Prof. Leon Dicks, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science.
  • Dr. Shaun Peters, Department of Genetics, Faculty of AgriScience. 
  • Dr. Bianke Loedolff, Department of Genetics, Faculty of AgriScience.


The broadest applicable market for this technology is the global enzymes market. It is expected to reach $12.2 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 8%. The applications dominating this space are energy and food/beverages processing. As was seen in the NAICS analysis, the market is dominated by three major players, which encompass over half of the market. Likewise, demonstrated by the competitive landscape search, collaboration in R&D to decrease cost and develop new technologies is a strategy employed. The more specific market of industrial enzymes is anticipated to grow with a CAGR over 6% through 2025. Geographically, North America consumes the majority of products, while APAC is projected to show the most growth. The use of industrial enzymes for food and beverage production, in particular fruit juice, wine, and cheese, are the primary application. Major players include Novozymes, BASF, Hoffman-LaRoche, and DuPont. These are all very large companies with vast portfolios and established consumer bases. As food enzymes are a particularly active part of the enzyme market and are mentioned as a potential product for this technology, we may also look at this focused application. The global food enzyme market is projected to reach over $3 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 5.6%. Factors contributing to growth include increased demand for processed foods, although constraints may occur from necessarily narrow reaction conditions and possible allergies to the enzymes. Major players include those listed above, along with Amano Enzyme, Kerry Group, and Advanced Enzyme Technologies. 

Fund Requirements


Available for licensing


Spin Out Company

Marketing Material


Ian van Zyl


Registered IP