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Ladies and Gentlemen,


an integrated bioeconomy needs cross-disciplinary research approaches. Within the framework of the second funding phase of the NRW strategy project BioSC, which has just ended, six large multidisciplinary collaborative projects, the FocusLabs, have been set up since 2017, under the leadership of young scientists and with a total budget of around €2.4 million each. The FocusLabs addressed and interlinked sustainable plant cultivation, innovative synthesis pathways for bio-based recyclables, integrated biorefinery processes, and the analysis of societal and economic transformations. Now that almost all FocusLabs have ended or are about to end, we would like to present an overview of the results in this newsletter.


As part of the Bioeconomy Science Year 2020/21, the exhibition ship MS Wissenschaft set off for the second time on June 5. Again on the 2021 tour, the exhibit "Algae Flipper" is on board, in which the BioSC is involved. More information is available at the end of the newsletter.


On June 10 and 11, the 6th Week of the Environment took place, hosted by the German President and the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt. Among 150 certified exhibitors, the BioSC was involved in a contribution to the structural change in the Rhenish mining area. The digital exhibition is still open.


Finally, we would like to note that the 10th anniversary brochure of the BioSC is now also available in English. Both the English and the slightly revised German version are available for download on the respective home page of the homepage.


We wish you an interesting reading!

FocusLab AP³: Advanced Pulping for Perennial Plants: A holistic and sustainable integrated lignocellulose biorefinery concept

Biorefinery concepts for the utilization of lignocellulosic biomass are a promising approach to ensure the supply of raw materials and energy in a biobased economy. As part of the FocusLab AP³, an interdisciplinary team of eight partners established a novel biorefinery concept: perennial plants, cultivated on marginal soils, are converted to platform chemicals such as cellulose, sugar and lignin using OrganoCat technology.

FocusLab Bio²: Integration of next generation biosurfactant production into biorefinery processes

The FocusLab Bio² aimed to develop a competitive biorefinery process for the production of biobased surfactants. Rhamnolipids and mannosylerythritol lipids were produced by recombinant strains of Pseudomonas putida and Ustilago maydis, respectively. The project combined strain optimization with process development and in situ approaches to product recovery. A socio-economic assessment accompanied the process design up to the evaluation at technical scale.

FocusLab HyImPAct: Hybrid processes for Important Precursor and Active pharmaceutical ingredients

In order to build economically viable biorefinery concepts, the development of closely linked biotransformations and chemotransformations as well as tailored downstream processing is necessary. Based on these hybrid production processes, biorefineries can be developed into ecologically and economically operating \"multi-substrate-to-multi-product\" factories. As part of the FocusLab HyImPAct, a first hybrid demonstrator process for the production of platform chemicals and pharmaceutically active compounds was developed.

FocusLab CombiCom: Combinatorial creation of structural diversity for novel high-value compounds

In the FocusLab CombiCom, secondary metabolite metabolic pathways were exploited to make natural products and new derivatives based on them available for the development of active ingredients for the agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors. With a view to a potential market launch, this was accompanied by testing of relevant bioactivities of the compounds and by an evaluation of the social acceptance of products from synthetic biological processes.

FocusLab greenRelease: greenRelease for Plant Health

The FocusLab greenRelease aimed to significantly reduce the use of fungicides and herbicides. The greenRelease technology is based on microgel containers that slowly release active ingredients and leaf-binding anchor peptides. In field trials conducted by the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Agriculture, the same protection against apple scab disease was achieved with a 3-fold reduction in fungicide use compared with conventional products. In parallel, a regulatory and economic evaluation was carried out.

FocusLab Transform2Bio: Integrated Transformation Processes and Their Regional Implementations: Structural Change from Fossil Economy to Bioeconomy

The Rhenish mining area will change a lot in the next few years and is to become a model region for a sustainable bioeconomy. This task for society as a whole provides rare insights into how such transformation processes work. But not only that - valuable knowledge for the future can also be gained.

Events and calls

The MS Wissenschaft with the exhibition accompanying the Bioeconomy Science Year 2020/21 set off for the second time. Again on the 2021 tour, the exhibit „Algae Flipper“ with the BioSCs`s participation is on board. The docking dates in NRW as well as further current information on events and calls can be found here.


Save the date: The NRW PhD Day 2021 will take place on September 28, with this year`s topic being „Future Food - Sustainable and efficient production“.

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Dr. Heike Baron
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