Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy
SEED FUND Project BioDeg

Boosting plant biomass degradation by combined use of lignin- and cellulose-degrading enzymes


The sustainable production of energy carriers and chemical commodities from renewable resources like lignocellulosic biomass is a promising alternative to the already existing processes relying on fossil fuels and crude oil. However, efficient usage of lignocellulose is quite challenging due to the complex structure and recalcitrance of the lignocellulosic polymer. Physico-chemical methods currently used to break down lignocellulosic structures require harsh conditions like high temperature, pressure and toxic chemicals. In nature, lignocellulosic biomass is decomposed by fungi that use a whole bunch of synergistic oxidative and hydrolytic enzymes therefor. Some of these enzymes like laccases, peroxidases or cellulases have already been intensively studied for the degradation of lignocellulose. However, mainly individual enzymes have been applied for this purpose so far. The aim of the BioDeg project was to develop tailored recombinant enzymes sets comprising lignin- and cellulose-degrading enzymes for efficient breakdown of different kinds of lignocellulosic biomass. Ligninolytic and cellulolytic enzymes from Moniliophthora roreri and other fungi were identified and heterologously expressed in Pichia pastoris. A combination of laccase, manganese peroxidase and lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase was successfully applied to enhance saccharification of Miscanthus by a commercial cellulase preparation.


Abbilung BioDeg

Participating Core Groups
Dr. Katja Koschorreck / Prof. Dr. Vlada B. Urlacher,
Institut für Biochemie, HHU Düsseldorf
Dr. Holger Klose / Prof. Dr. Björn Usadel, I
nstitut für Botanik und Molekulargenetik , RWTH Aachen


Contact (Coordinator)
Dr. Katja Koschorreck and Prof. Dr. Vlada B. Urlacher
Institut für Biochemie
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

Project duration



BioDeg is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.



Schmitz, F, Röder, A, Hoffrogge, M, Urlacher, VB and Koschorreck, K (2024). Agar plate-based activity assay for easy and fast screening of recombinant Pichia pastoris expressing unspecific peroxygenases. Biotechnol J 19(1): e2300421.  

Bronikowski, A, Hagedoorn, P-L, Koschorreck, K and Urlacher, VB (2017). Expression of a new laccase from Moniliophthora roreri at high levels in Pichia pastoris and its potential application in micropollutant degradation. AMB Express 7: 73.