Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy
FocusLab HyImPAct

Hybrid processes for Important Precursor and Active pharmaceutical ingredients


Scientific Abstract

At present, industrial bioprocesses are predominantly based on a “one substrate – one product” concept. The implementation of a sustainable bioeconomy that is competitive with respect to ecologic and economic demands will, however, critically depend on novel highly interwoven value networks based on “multi substrate – multi product” processes in biorefineries. Establishing such processes requires the tight integration of microbial biotransformations, enzymatic cascade reactions, chemical synthesis steps, product recovery and techno-economic analysis, denoted as “hybrid processes”. HyImPAct aims at a major breakthrough in this field by designing a complex hybrid example process for the combined production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (chiral 1,2-diols, amino alcohols) and their bulk chemical precursor, starting from D-xylose as the major carbon source of lignocellulosic hydrolysates. Corynebacterium glutamicum will serve as a platform organism and further engineered towards the utilization of D-xylose containing feedstocks with minimized carbon loss. Process development will be based on a set of recently demonstrated bio- and chemo transformations. The work will be accompanied by profound techno-economic analyses, focusing on the comparison between established vs. proposed alternative production routes. These tasks include the development of new approaches (models and tools) for the design, evaluation and optimization of hybrid processes.




What is the relevance for bioeconomy?

Bioeconomy is concerned with the transformation of an oil-based into a sustainable economy based on renewable resources. However, classical chemical industry based on petrochemical resources has matured over one century and, thus, is highly optimized for economic efficiency. Due to the highly interwoven nature of classical chemical processing steps, it is not very probable that bioeconomic value networks will grow beneath classical chemical syntheses and someday will just replace it. The challenge is the transition to hybrid value networks and the stepwise “infiltration” of classical value networks by more sustainable and “greener” processes. HyImPAct will focus on one specific, but highly relevant, hybrid example process in which bio-production of bulk chemicals is coupled to enzymatic and chemo transformation steps to finally produce compounds of highly added value. Moreover, by starting from D-xylose as most abundant and renewable carbon source, the hybrid process is envisioned to be sustainable and economically feasible.

FocusLab coordinator

Stephan Noack
IBG-1: Biotechnology, Quantitative Microbial Phenotyping
Forschungszentrum Jülich
52428 Jülich, Germany
Phone: +49-2461-61-6044
Fax: +49-2461-61-3870


Industry partners:

HERBRAND PharmaChemicals GmbH


Funding period

01.01.2018 – 30.09.2021


The total budget of HyImPAct is € 1.905.990. HyImPAct is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Most relevant publications from preliminary studies

Burmeister, A., et al. (2019). "A microfluidic co-cultivation platform to investigate microbial interactions at defined microenvironments." Lab on a Chip 19(1): 98-110

Hemmerich, J., et al. (2018). "Less Sacrifice, More Insight: Repeated Low-Volume Sampling of Microbioreactor Cultivations Enables Accelerated Deep Phenotyping of Microbial Strain Libraries." Biotechnology Journal

Kallscheuer, N. and J. Marienhagen (2018). "Corynebacterium glutamicum as platform for the production of hydroxybenzoic acids." Microbial Cell Factories 17(1): 70-70

Noack S, Baumgart M (2019). Communities of Niche-Optimized Strains: Small-Genome Organism Consortia in Bioproduction. Trends in Biotechnology 37(2): 126-139

Tenhaef, N., et al. (2018). "Production of d-xylonic acid using a non-recombinant Corynebacterium glutamicum strain." Bioresource Technology 268: 332-339

Radek A, Tenhaef N, Müller MF, Brüsseler C, Wiechert W, Marienhagen J, Polen T, Noack S (2017) Miniaturized and automated adaptive laboratory evolution: Evolving Corynebacterium glutamicum towards an improved d-xylose utilization. Bioresour Technol

Erdmann V, Lichman BR, Zhao J, Simon RC, Kroutil W, Ward JM, Hailes HC, Rother D (2017) Enzymatic and Chemoenzymatic Three-Step Cascades for the Synthesis of Stereochemically Complementary Trisubstituted Tetrahydroisoquinolines. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl

Weber A, Döhl K, Sachs J, Nordschild ACM, Schröder D, Kulik A, Fischer T, Schmitt L, Teusch N, Pietruszka J (2017) Synthesis and cytotoxic activities of goniothalamins and derivatives. Bioorg Med Chem

Bednarz A, Weber B, Jupke A (2017) Development of a CFD model for the simulation of a novel multiphase counter-current loop reactor. Chem Eng Sci

Hombach LE, Büsing C, Walther G (2017) Robust and sustainable supply chains under market uncertainties and different risk attitudes - a case study of the German biodiesel market. EJOR