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More efficient cracking of cellulose chains with multi-enzyme complexes

GO-Bio 6
Dr. Wolfgang Schwarz
Technical University of Munich

cellulose wood
kartos - Fotolia

Recipient: Technical University of Munich
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.06.2014 - 31.10.2016, 2.595.869 Euro)


Vegetable biomass consists to a large extent of cellulose, a long-chain sugar molecule that is located in the cell wall. Cellulose represents a potential valuable raw material in a biobased economy. However, it has found little application to date as a source of sugar in the field of biotechnology as the process of breaking apart the sugar chains into their constituent building blocks is too complicated.

A team led by Wolfgang Schwarz has developed a technology called FasCiPlex that allows the cleaving into industrial sugar to take place more efficiently. The innovative method involves the synthesis of a bacterial enzyme complex that is especially adept at chopping up the cellulose molecule. Schwarz and his team are hoping to increase the efficiency of sugar production by a factor of three compared to competing products on the market.

In the first phase of GO-Bio, the FasCiPlex technology will be developed from prototype to product, with an accompanying elaboration of the industrial production of the multi-enzyme complex. Here, particular attention will be given to its specific suitability for industrial customers as a biomass substrate. The FasCiPlex prototype will be initially put to the test with a pilot customer, thereby laying the foundations for industrial-scale production. The sugar components obtained from the cleaving of cellulose are suitable both for energetic (biofuels) and for material use (base chemicals, solvents).

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