The Final Report of Commission Expert Group on Bio-based Products shows that the access to biomass feedstock and the effectiveness of the bioprocesses represent a critical issues and obstacles to the full spread of the bioeconomy in Europe.
Indeed, the biochemical conversion of biomass feedstocks to advanced bio products through biocatalytic processes requires a first biomass pre-treatment step. A side effect of pre-treatment, however, is the formation of inhibitors able to influence the performance of the entire bioconversion process.
This research project aims at facing technological challenges and/or solving the above critical issues by:
- Improving the pre-treatment steps and analyzing the type and quality of four targeted biomass feedstocks, locally available across Europe, (e.g., Lignocellulosic waste, agrifood by-products as whey, industrial by-products as glycerol, and marine biomasses as Algae) in terms of carbon source and presence of inhibitors affecting the yield and the productivity of the bioconversion process;
- Adopting an innovative cascading biochemical reactions-based approach to convert the selected biomass feedstocks into high added value bio-products;
- Selecting for each biomass feedstock at least one microorganism and/or cell-free enzyme system not only resistant to the presence of inhibitors, but also able to correlate the biocatalytic activities with the formation of the desired chemical end products in order to increase the production capacity;
- Demonstrating the innovativeness and the added value offered by the application of bio-based Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs), as more environmentally responsible reaction media, in place of toxic and volatile organic compounds, so as to reduce the environmental impact and to increase, at the same time, the yield of the whole bioconversion process.