A Synthetic Biology Platform for the Optimization of Enzymic Biomass Processing
acronym: Cellulect

RESULTS of Cellulect: Presentation can be found here.

Procject coordinator:
- Dr. Alistair Elflick - University of Edinburgh - UK
Project leaders:
- Prof. Peter Lenz - Philipps-Universität Marburg - Germany
- Prof. Ariel Lindner - INSERM U1001, Paris - France
- Dr. Franck Escalettes - Ingenza Ltd., Edingburgh - UK

IB Motivation
This proposal fits perfectly with the ERA-IB topics:

  • Improved enzyme systems for new and more efficient bioprocesses;
  • Biological processing (including separation and conversion) of biomass, including from side streams, and other renewable carbon sources into value added products.

Expected Results
The work proposed demonstrates novel technologies to screen biomass feedstock against a diverse library of enzymes, combined in thousands of discrete configurations using engineered microbes, to determine which gene combinations and concerted enzymatic activities give optimal degradation of diverse biomass sources. These combinations may then serve as a starting point to generate further valuable combinations in an iterative evolutionary process. The project output will create value for many end-users by improving the yield of biomass conversion to usable feedstock and will be applied to immediate industrial targets. In addition to enabling the optimisation of enzyme blends for any given application, analysis of the results will allow the team to develop heuristics that facilitate more rational design of biomass processing systems in future, leading to a deeper understanding of biomass degradation. The project results will also demonstrate the value of GSA, a novel combinatorial genetic approach that can greatly accelerate the normally time-consuming process ofachieving efficient, gene expression and concerted action of industrial enzymes.

The technology developed will be commercialised by Ingenza. There are a number of routes to value extraction including: i.) Biomanufacture and direct sale of the enzyme blend to biorefinery operators ii.) Licensing of microbes adapted for biomass usage to current manufacturing partners iii.) Provision of a contract service to customers wishing to have a bespoke digestion chassis implemented for the particular biomass of interest.