Improved Cellulosomes to Enhance Saccharification of Industrially-Suitable Lignocellulosic Biomass Residues

acronym: FiberFuel

RESULTS of FiberFuel: Presentation can be found here.

Project coordinator
- Staff scientist Mariano Carrión-Vázquez - Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid - Spain
Project leaders
- Prof. Edward A. Bayer - The Weizmann Institute of Science (WEIZ), Rehovot - Israel
- Mme Mirjam Czjek - Station Biologique de Roscoff Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Roscoff - France
- Prof. Marek Cieplak - Polish Academy of Sciences (IFPAN), Warsaw - Poland
(The research in Poland is supported by the ERA-NET-IB/06/2013 Grant funded by the National Centre for Research and Development.)
- Institutional relations and project management Carmen Millán - Abengoa Bioenergía Nuevas Tecnologías SA (ABNT), Seville - Spain
- CTO Ely Moarg - Designer Energy (DesEn), Rehovot - Israel
- Staff scientist Damien Thompson - Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork (TNI-UCC) - Ireland
- Prof. Dr. Herman Gaub - Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) - Germany

FiberFuel targets the rational design of optimized designer cellulosomes (DCs: cellulolytic enzyme
systems based on a scaffolding protein) to overcome the major bottleneck in biomass industrial
processing, namely saccharification (the conversion of cellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars).
The goal is to improve the efficiency of the saccharafication process from low-value raw biomass
materials (all of them renewable, sustainable and inexpensive) to produce industrial-value
chemicals. Our cross-disciplinary approach includes bio-nanotechnology, structural biology, labon-
a-chip and modeling.

1. Characterization of natural cellulosomes and candidate substrates. FiberFuel will
produce the basic components of natural cellulosomes as well as other lignocellulosic enzymes and
characterize two industrial substrates of interest (wheat straw and corn stover) to understand the
architecture, nanomechanics and catalytic properties of cellulosomes, and the logic behind their
2. Multi-scale modeling of the cellulosome for in silico knowledge integration. This will
provide crucial support for the synthesis, assembly and characterization tasks, supplying detailed
structural and energetic information to aid designing and interpreting experiments.
3. Rational design of DCs. Integration of acquired knowledge from 1 and 2 into DCs and
subsequent activity screening will allow constructing DCs optimized for degrading selected industrial
substrates, and validated at the laboratory scale.

Expected results
1. A standard activity assay to monitor cellulosic substrate degradation.
2. Test of the mechanical hypothesis of the cellulosome.
3. Supramolecular DC structure characterized at the atomic and molecular levels.
4. Molecular and supra-molecular models of DCs.
5. Optimized DCs obtained based on rational design for the specific industrial substrates.

FiberFuel is very likely to generate new intellectual property covering the optimized
cellulosome derivatives and processes for biomass degradation into fermentable sugars. Both the
standard activity assay and DCs produced will be patented, which will be used and exploited by
ABNT and DesEn. The developed technology will be unique and as such is not expected to
conflict with other intellectual property.