NWO-grant for degration of biomass
Dr. Erik Vijgenboom (IBL) and Dr. Peter Punt (IBL/TNO) obtained a new NWO-grant for their project FILAZYME to develop filamentous micro-organisms for enzyme production to degrade biomass.
In the coming decade the Biotech industry will invest strongly in new technology for the use of biomass in the production of chemical building blocks. This is the result of political and socio-economical pressure together with a steady decline in the availability of conventional petrochemical resources.
The most critical aspect in the effort for the use of biomass in bio-based production is the need for enzymes capable of efficient and complete degradation of a wide variety of biomass. Current enzyme cocktails can process a substantial part of the biomass, but a significant percentage stays recalcitrant, leading to significant economic losses in feedstock-to-product conversion.
The research team of Vijgenboom and Punt includes collaborators from TNO, CSIC - University of Salamanca, H2Biyotek and WeissBiotech SARL/GmbH. They aim for new enzymes and cell factories that can upgrade current enzyme cocktails towards a more complete degradation of biomass. The project focus is on new aspects of protein secretion in a commonly used filamentous fungal cell factory, Aspergillus and the development of a promising new filamentous bacterial cell factory, Streptomyces.