The aim of the project is to develop superabsorbents based on fughi proteins (zygometes proteins). A secondary aim is to obtain a better understanding of the mechanisms behind protein based superabsorbents. In a later stage the knowledge obtained can also be used to model carbohydrate based superabsorbents that can be formed by chitosan which is a main component of the cell walls of zygomycetes.
Our focus is the relationship between structure and water uptake capacity of proteins of different compositions, e.g., the influence of any secondary structure elements on the water absorbtion potential. To obtain insight in the these questions the three-dimensional structure of several different proteins is modelled, both with the experimental structure and with a "random coil" structure which we create using the "amorphous cell" method of Prof. Theodorou in Athens with whom we have a collaboration.