Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Novel approaches to develop filamentous micro-organisms for enzyme production (FILAZYME)

Can we develop new enzymes and cell factories to upgrade current enzyme cocktails towards complete degradation of biomass?

Erik Vijgenboom
NWO Grant Industrial Biotechnology NWO Grant Industrial Biotechnology

The Filazyme consortium

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 only process a substantial part of the biomass but a significant percentage of biomass stays recalcitrant in current degradation approaches, leading to significant economic losses in feedstock-to-product conversion.

The Filazyme consortium aims at contributing new enzymes and cell factories that can upgrade current enzyme cocktails towards complete degradation of biomass. The project is focused 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. Significant synergy is expected in reaching the final project goals by using these highly complementary cell factory platforms. Furthermore new enzymes will be identified, expressed and isolated to complement current enzyme cocktails.

Fermentation protocols will be setup for the production of the enzymes at industrial relevant scale.

The project entices participants representing the whole value chain from academia, to research institutes, to enzyme suppliers and end-users.

The latter are innovative SME companies, representing the driving force in the new value chains within the bio-based economy.

The project consists of a transnational consortium with participants from Northern and Southern European and upcoming near East markets, allowing penetration of the results of the research in areas with considerable and diverse growth potential.

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