iFermenter: Conversion of forestry sugar residual streams to antimicrobial proteins by intelligent fermentation

iFermenter: Conversion of forestry sugar residual streams to antimicrobial proteins by intelligent fermentation

We aim to recover high-value compounds from forestry sugar residuals, and to convert these residuals to antimicrobials through cost-effective fermentation processes.

prosjekt

About/Aims
Background

Plant dry matter, so-called lignocellulosic biomass, is the largest renewable biomass feedstock on Earth. Europe produces over 14 million tons of sugar residuals from biorefineries, which could be converted to profitable products and contribute to a sustainable bioeconomy.

Unfortunately, existing biorefineries struggle with technical issues and low profitability due to the lack of adequate fermentation processes. Therefore, these sugars are either incinerated to generate energy or at best converted to ethanol, but not to higher value chemicals.

Current concepts that aim to establish fermentation processes to convert residual sugar streams to high value products face challenges, including inefficient sugar utilization by microorganisms and inhibitors in the residual streams, leading to low productivity and yields.

Objectives

Our project aims to recover high-value compounds from forestry sugar residuals, and to convert these residuals to antimicrobials through cost-effective fermentation processes.

We will recover the high-value sugar galactose from residual streams as part of the treatment process. Using genome editing techniques, we will design cell factories that consume the remaining residuals and produce nisin, an industrially important commercial food/feed preservative. Additionally, we will develop an affordable, online feedback add-on system that will allow us to intelligently change residual mixture during fermentation of these cell factories to optimize production during the process. In a 150 L industrial bioreactor, we will demonstrate that our add-on invention iFermenter:

1. increases the yields of nisin by over two-fold
2. increases nisin production by over 50% compared to current systems
3. reduces the CO2 footprint by at least 20% compared to existing solutions