Aboubakar Sidiki Sako Ph.D. Student

As a researcher, my main interest are the bioproduction of high-value-added biomolecules and protein engineering.


My research revolves around biofluorination and the bioproduction of fluorinated biomolecules, carrying one or more fluorine atom(s). Since addition of fluorine can greatly modulate the physicochemical properties of a given compound, organofluorines are extensively used in multiple industries. At the industrial scale, fluorinated molecules are produced using classic organic chemistry, which often requires reaction conditions and reagents that are deleterious to the environment. Establishing biofluorination (i.e., the addition of fluorine to a molecule using enzymes under life-compatible conditions) constitutes a safer, greener and substrate-specific alternative to the traditional fluorine chemistry. I am working on three subjects around this general goal. The first one is the improvement of kinetic properties of the fluorinase, the only natural enzyme able to add a fluorine to a biomolecule. The second is studying wild-type and mutant enzymes able to catalyze the formation of carbon-fluorine bonds beyond the fluorinase. Finally, I am also trying to establish bioproduction of polyfluorinated compounds in the industrially-relevant bacterium Pseudomonas putida, since biofluorination is (for now!) limited to the addition of one fluorine atom at a time.