Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Efficient phosphate recovery from agro waste streams by enzyme, strain, and process engineering


The project focuses on the development of a new value chain to recover phosphate from plant waste material. The ultimate aim is to recycle phosphate into polyphosphates of new values. Therefore phytase, the enzyme able to release phosphate from plant material, is studied in this BioSC project. Through variations in protein modification (glycosylation) different properties such as thermostability or enzyme activity are optimized until a superior phytase is created. The impact of the enzyme production on the production host, the yeast Pichia pastoris, is analyzed with the whole metabolism in sight. Through this approach it is possible to predict steps in the cell metabolism during protein production which can be tuned to further improve phytase production. Bioprocess development contributes through establishing high-throughput screening environment in form of micro bioreactor systems. Utilizing that system clones generated by the other partners can easily be tested to identify the best producing strains. With the use of yeasts that collect phosphate it is possible to use the released phosphate to form polyphosphates. The possible market entries for superior phytase and polyphosphates are evaluated on a basis of market research, existing products, and company interviews. Furthermore the generic technology potential will be studied (e.g. IP).

Participating Core Groups

Prof. Dr. Lars M. Blank

Lehrstuhl für Angewandte Mikrobiologie
Institut für Angewandte Mikrobiologie - iAMB
RTWH Aachen University
52074 Aachen
Phone: +49 241 80 - 26600
Fax: +49 241 80 - 622180

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schwaneberg
, Lehrstuhl für Biotechnologie, RWTH Aachen University
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wiechert, Prof. Dr. Marco Oldiges, Institut für Bio- und Geowissenschaften: Biotechnologie - IBG-1, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Prof. Dr. Stefanie Bröring, Professur für Technologie- und Innovationsmanagement im Agribusiness, Institut für Lebensmittel- und Ressourcenökonomik (ILR), Universität Bonn

Funding period
01.01.2015 – 31.12.2016

The total budget of P-ENG is € 773.720. P-ENG 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.