For the development of economically feasible biorefinery concepts value-added strategies for all three main components of lignocellulose – lignin, cellulose and non-cellulosic sugars – are needed. While for cellulose and non-cellulosic polysaccharides several valorization strategies have been proposed, the conversion of lignin into high-value products is still a crucial challenge, because lignin depolymerization into soluble mono- and oligolignols, convertable by microorganisms, is quite challenging due to its recalcitrance and complex structure. However, nature has evolved a whole bunch of enzymes acting synergistically to break down lignin. In the project Lignin2Value, OrganoCat-lignin fractions from agricultural residues will be treated with a set of lignin-degrading enzymes including bacterial and fungal laccases, peroxidases and aryl alcohol oxidases as well as β-etherases and glutathione lyases. This will lead to the production of lignin-derived monomers, which will first be utilized as carbon source for the growth of Corynebacterium glutamicum and, later on, for production of succinic acid.
The transition from a petroleum based to a bio-based economy necessitates the development of novel solutions to produce fuels and commodities. Holistic approaches to use lignocellulosic biomass derived from agricultural waste streams can be promising alternatives to build up novel value chains. In this project, solutions for a valuable utilization of lignin will be developed as a prerequisite for an economically viable biorefinery concept. Hence, the Lignin2Value approach aims to extent the potential of a microbial fermentation system for the utilization of a lignin stream from the OrganoCat process. The project combines leading expertise in the fields of enzymatic lignin degradation (IBC), systems biotechnology, focusing on the development of bioprocesses (IBG-1) and green chemistry-based solution for biomass pretreatment and fractionation (IBG-2). The proposed approach – if successful – will increase the potential of Corynebacterium glutamicum in respect to its substrate spectrum and will establish a new production chain from lignin to chemical building blocks. Therefore, Lignin2Value is of high impact for the Focus Topic Area “Integrated biorefineries for sustainable production and processing” and especially relevant for the FocusLabs HyImPAct and AP3. The application of lignin as a substrate for microbial fermentation (C. glutamicum) clearly fits into the “multi substrate – multi product” concept of HyImPAct for the production of bulk chemicals. The utilization of the lignin stream from the OrganoCat process for the synthesis of biobased products fits into the concept of AP3, aiming for a sustainable biorefinery concept to fully valorize lignocellulose. Thus, Lignin2Value can help to implement biorefinery processes to a cornerstone of a future bioeconomy.
Dr. Katja Koschorreck
Chair of Biochemistry II
Heinrich Heine University
phone: +49 211 81 10749
Dr. Philippe Grande, IBG-2: Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Dr.-Ing. Stephan Noack, IBG-1: Biotechnology, Forschungszentrum Jülich
01.09.2019 - 31.08.2020
The total budget of Lignin2Value is 174,280 €. Lignin2Value is 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.