Biotechnology is the processing of biomaterials from biomass, cells or cellular components. These include proteins, sugars, fats and other organic molecules, bioactive and pharmacologically active substances. Biotechnology is therefore a methodology that can be applied, for example, to food processing in agriculture and fisheries.
Matís' biotechnology group promotes innovation by developing biotechnology in Iceland and helping biotechnology companies to gain a foothold in the Icelandic economy. The group works on various research and development projects related to biotechnology as well as serving the biotechnology industry in Iceland. The biotechnology group's tasks include the utilization of underutilized resources and by-products to increase value creation and reduce undesirable environmental impacts. Matís' biotechnology group has been conducting practical research on Iceland's genetic resources for many years and has been at the forefront of such research. Emphasis has been placed on finding and marketing new enzymes from heat- and cold-loving microorganisms.
The biotechnology team provides a variety of services for example in the development of processing processes and products, activity measurements and sampling. Furthermore, the group provides services related to genetic engineering, cf. cloning and expression of genes, and sequencing of genomes (genomics, transcriptomics, metagenomics).
Matís' biotechnology group has knowledge in systems biology and metabolic engineering. The aim of such research is to develop cell factories that produce valuable materials of various kinds, cf. biofuels, organic acids and pigments.
In recent years, Matís' biotechnology group has focused on marine biotechnology, which includes research and development of processing of Icelandic seafood. Matís has acquired extensive expertise in the utilization of algae and algae. Large algae (seaweed and kelp) are full of valuable substances, such as complex sugars. Matís has developed enzymes and cell factories that convert seaweed sugars into various substances, from biofuels to substances used in the pharmaceutical industry and in the production of bioplastics. There has been great interest in the cultivation of small algae in this country and Matís has for years researched and cultivated algae from the Icelandic environment. Matís assists companies in the field of algae cultivation in the development and processing of products for food and feed.