BBG liderated by Dr Otero investigates  the application of biocatalysts to develop selective processes of synthesis of chemical products of application in different areas: functional foods, nutraceuticals, sustainable chemistry, biomedicine, phamacy, cosmetics, biodiesel, fine chemicals, etc.


The research Group of Biocatalysis and Bioenergy (BBG) belongs to the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry, which is part of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), The Institute is one of the research centres included in the field of Chemistry and Chemical Technologies.
The group liderated by Dr Otero investigates the application of biocatalysts to develop selective industrial processes in different areas: functional foods, nutraceuticals, sustainable chemistry, biomedicine, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, biodiesel, fine chemicals, etc.

For the industrial development of new selective biocatalytic processes, BBG investigates immobilized enzymes working in both batch and continuous reactors. Since 1987, the group exploits the  advantages of lipase-catalysed bioprocesses in water and in the presence of organic solvents in the reaction media (selectivity, especificity, etc). BBG investigates the synthesis of compounds used as food additives or emulsifiers: mono-, di- and triacylglycerides, and fatty acid esters of monosaccharides, polyols, amines, alpha-hydroxyacids, biodiesel and phospholipids. The group has wide experience in most of the techniques that are relevant in the field of Biocatalysis: Methodology for the immobilization/stabilization of enzymes, reaction and reactor engineering. The chemical characterization of products and the progress of the enzymatic reactions are followed by TLC, HPLC, gas-liquid
chromatography, NMR and others.

The laboratory of BBG is integrated in the network of laboratories of Madrid+D, running analysis of FAME, glycerides, biodiesel according to directives EN ISO 9001. Analytical methods mostly used in characterization of food-grade fats and oils, and biodiesel are certified by AENOR (European National Agency of Normalization). Determination of FAMEs, oxidative stability, oil composition in terms of mono-, diand triacylglycerol, free fatty acids, water content, density, viscosity, solid fat content, etc are carried out.

BBG group has established fruitful collaborations with the Dept. Chem. Eng. of Wisconsin Univ., the Technological Institute of Veracruz (Mexico) and Korea University, and has participated in different international programs (NATO, EuropeanUnion, Royal Soc. Of UK, Korean KOSEF, Romanian Academy of Sciences, etc). BBG liderates nacional and international scientific consortia for evaluation and demonstrationof functional properties of new oil formulations for patients with obesity, methabolicsyndrome, diabetes, colesterol, hipertension and cancer, and for pregnants, lactants andold citizens.

BBG has developed a process of synthesis of biodiesel from sunflower oil. The processoptimization involves the design of new catalysts more efficient in the alcoholysisreaction, the reactor design and determination of optimal operational conditions. BBGalso organizes monographic courses about synthesis and characterization of biodiesel,methods of characterization of materials, enzymes, biocatalysis, biotransformations and lipids.

Research Lines of BBG:

Enzymatic preparation of fats free of trans fatty acids: margarines and others

Synthesis and characterization of functional lipids and phospholípids, lipids rich or not in  polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA (omega-3, omega-6, CLA, etc)

Synthesis and characterization of biodiesel from plant oils, algae, etc

Synthesis and characterization of emulsifiers derived from amines, monosacharides, and sorbitol

Synthesis of a-hydroxyacids, oligosaccharides and others

Identification and extraction of biomass subproducts (antioxidants, vitamins, phospholipids, antimicrobials, glycerides, fatty acids, etc)

Characterization of fats, oils and biodiesel according with European directives:

-Chemical characterization (HPLC-mass, CG-mass, etc for FAME, TAG, DAG, MAG, G, free fatty acids, humidity by Karl Fisher, etc)

-Physical and functional characterization (meeting and crystallization profiles of fats, oxidative stability (Rancimat), viscosity, density, etc


Facilities & Technologies available in BBG

Extraction & Purification of enzymes

Determination of activities and stabilities of biocatalysts

Improvement of the biocatalyst: Immobilization & modification of enzymes

Chemical Analyses of substrates and products according to european directives

Extraction, Separation, & Purification of products mediated or not by 
a selective biotransformation: isolation of bioactive products, such 
as lipids, phospholipids, antioxidants, vitamins, peptides, 
polyphenols, etc.

Processes catalyzed by enzymes (lipases, proteases, cellulases, 
phospholipases). Reaction, medium, biocatalyst and reactor 
engineerings for the design of optimal processes for each feedstock 
materias (according with purity, source, inhibitors presence, etc).

Process Optimization & Development (including scalling up & pilot 
plant design) for the obtention of fine chemical products, food 
additives, emulsifiers, antioxidants, cosmetics, chiral drugs, etc.

Patented and/or Developed processes by BBG

Selective synthesis of food grade emulsifiers (derived from 
monosacharides & poliols)

Synthesis of semisolid fats free of /trans /fatty acids/

Selective synthesis of structured lipids  (/Light/, rich in PUFA like 
omega-3, etc.)

Selective synthesis of structured phospholipids (/Light/, rich in PUFA 
like omega-3, etc..)

Biodiesel production from first to the last generation feedstocks. Two 
processes: in stirred tanks and in continuous.

Preparation and Characterization of an advanced spirulina extract with 
antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, and anti-hypercholesterolemic activities

Physical, Chemical and functional characterization of the different 
feedstocks and products

Gas-mases, and liquid-mases chromatographies, NMR, RI, oxidative 
stability, fusion and crystallization profiles of fats, plasticity of 
fats, viscosity, water content by Karl Fisher, density, etc.

Caracterization of fats, lipids,  and biodiesel according with the 
european directives (FA composition, glycerides, FAMEs & FAEEs, 
oxidative stability and free acid content).

In collaboration with others: Funcional assays in animals 
(cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, methabolic syndrome, cancer, etc).


Otero Hernández, Cristina – Group leader


Preparation and Characterization of a Multicomponent/Arthrospira Platensis/ /sp./ Biomass Hydrolysate with Superior Anti-Hypertensive, Anti-Hyperlipidemic and Antioxidant Activities via Selective Proteolysis.

Year: 2023

Autors: Cristina Otero and Carlos M. Verdasco-Martín

Mar. Drugs Volume 21, Issue 4 (Novel Applications and Technologies for the Industrial Exploitation of Algal Derived Marine Bioactives as Nutraceuticals or Pharmaceuticals 2.0 

Spirulina extract improves age-induced vascular dysfunction.

Year: 2022
Autors: Michal Majewski, Mercedes Klett-Mingo, Carlos M. Verdasco-Martín, Cristina Otero and Mercedes Ferrer
Pharmaceutical Biology.VOL. 60, NO. 1, 627-637, 2022,

Immobilized biocatalysts of eversa® transform 2.0 and lipase from thermomyces lanuginosus: Comparison of some properties and performance in biodiesel production. 

Year: 2020
Autors: Martínez-Sanchez, J.A., Arana-Peña, S., Carballares, D.,(…), Otero, C., Fernandez-Lafuente, R.
Catalyst10(7), 738, 2020

Advantageous enzyme selective extraction process of essential spirulina oil.

Year: 2020
Autors: Carlos M. Verdasco-Martín, Azahara Díaz-Lozano and Cristina Otero
Catalysis Today. 346, 121–131, 2020. 


Year: 2020
Authors: Carlos Manuel Verdasco Martín, Roberto Fernandez-Lafuente, Cristina Otero Hernández
 Enzyme and Microbial Technology

Beneficial Effects of Spirulina Aqueous Extract on Vasodilator Function of Arteries from Hypertensive Rats.

Year: 2019
Autors: D.M. Villalpando, C.M. Verdasco-Martín, I. Plaza, J. Gómez-Rivas, F.R. de Bethencourt, M. Villarroel, J.L. García, C. Otero and M. Ferrer
International Journal of Vascular Medicine Volume 2020, Article ID 6657077, 9 pages

Advantageous preparation of digested proteic extracts from Spirulina platensis biomass

Year: 2019
Autors: Carlos M. Verdasco-Martín, Lea Echevarrieta and Cristina Otero
Catalysts 9, 145-, 2019. 

Rapid and high yield production of phospholipids enriched in CLA via acidolysis: the critical role of the enzyme immobilization protocol

Year: 2019
Authors: Carlos Manuel Verdasco Martín, Roberto Fernandez-Lafuente, Cristina Otero Hernández
Food Chemistry

Selective synthesis of partial glycerides of conjugated linoleic acids via modulation of the catalytic properties of lipases by immobilization on different supports

Year: 2018
Authors: Carlos Manuel Verdasco Martín, Roberto Fernandez-Lafuente, Cristina Otero Hernández

Optimization of the coating of octyl-CALB with ionic polymers to improve stability and decrease enzyme leakage

Year: 2018
Authors: Cristina Otero Hernández, Roberto Fernandez-Lafuente
Biocatalysis and Biotransformations


Extracto acuoso con propiedades anti-hipertensivas, anti-hiperlipidémicas, anti-hipercolesterolémicas y antioxidantes.


CSIC has developed an extraction method of spirulina biocomponents with superior actividad anti-hypertensive, anti-hyperlipidemic y and antioxidant activities of application in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. The patent was licesed to a Food Company.