Staff Services Student Enterprise

Edinburgh Protein Production Facility

Project contact
Cameron Chalmers
Consultancy Manager

Edinburgh Protein Production Facility helps research to produce better livestock feed

The microorganisms that live in the guts of livestock play a vital role in helping animals extract energy from their feed. For example, while chickens are unable to digest fibre on their own, their gut microorganisms can produce enzymes that break down fibre into small molecules that the chicken can use as an energy source.

Laura Glendinning from the Roslin Institute and her team selected 18 proteins (which were abundant in fast-growing chicken breeds) for their research project, to characterise the protein’s potential as feed-additive enzymes.

The team first tested whether they were able to produce these enzymes in the lab, and were able to successfully produce 14 of 18 proteins. They then tested whether these proteins were able to break down two types of fibre that are commonly found in livestock feed. The results were that they identified eight enzymes that were able to degrade these types of fibre and are therefore of interest as potential livestock feed additives.

Follow up research and potential commercial collaboration is underway.

From the beginning to the end of my project, the Edinburgh Protein Production Facility team were incredibly helpful and communicative. As a microbial ecologist, I had no previous experience in enzyme production. The expertise of the EPPF team was therefore essential in helping me deliver my research objectives.

The team offered substantial advice during the project design stage, and I was kept fully up to date with the team’s progress on producing and characterising the enzymes. I would heartily recommend the EPPF to any researchers interested in protein production.

Laura Glendinning, Roslin Institute.

I have worked with Edinburgh Innovations for more than 15 years now in my role as facility manager of the EPPF. In that time, they have helped ensure the process of engaging with clients is a smooth one: from setting up agreements, to dealing with invoicing and client negotiations. If you are looking to get more support with your facility or reaching out to clients, you should definitely get in touch with them.

Martin Wear, Manager, Edinburgh Protein Production Facility.

The Edinburgh Protein Production Facility (EPPF)


  • Agri-tech, agri-food and plant biology
  • Healthcare and disease
  • Life sciences and industrial biotechnology
  • Pharmaceuticals and medical biotechnology

Technologies available

A centre of excellence for protein-related life science projects, the EPPF can provide a full service for both internal and external users and is frequently used by biopharma for such work. The highly-trained facility staff have more than 80 years combined expertise in molecular biology, protein expression and purification and biophysical analysis of proteins and their ligands. They have been involved in driving large, complex biophysical themes within multi-disciplinary projects.

Staff have knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the equipment and user experiments, as well as a high-level understanding of the theory and wider biological context. This ensures more effective and efficient research results. Practical training (basic and advanced) for users, ranging from individually tailored one-on-one instruction to frequent centralised training courses are offered.

Equipment available

The EPPF has the following equipment in one place to allow for the whole research pipeline:

  • 7 modern liquid chromatography systems
  • a large resin/column library, configured to give flexibility for production and purification
  • capacity for the culture of bacteria, yeast, and mammalian cells
  • a comprehensive suite of analytical instruments for examining the biophysical state of proteins and protein complexes
  • surface plasmon resonance (SPR) instruments for studying kinetics
  • calorimetry (ITC) instruments for studying thermodynamics
  • a series of spectroscopy and light scattering technologies (DLS and MALS), to define the size, shape and activity of proteins or protein reagents, in their native solution states

Find out more about the Edinburgh Protein Production Facility (EPPF)

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