Optimized laccase systems for high-value bio-plastics production from biomass
Acronym: OXYPOL

Project coordinator
- Alexander Wentzel - Stiftelsen SINTEF - Norway

Project leaders
- Iraida Loinaz - Fundación CIDETEC - Spain
- Vicente Gotor - Universidad de Oviede (UNIOVI) - Spain
- Joe Gallagher - Aberystwyth University ( IBERS) - United Kingdom
- Katja Loos - University of Groningen (RUG) - the Netherlands
- Ruth Maas - Autodisplay Biotech GmbH (ADBIOT) - Germany
- Siw Bodil Frederiksen - Norner Research (NORNER) - Norway
- Denis Lenev - NIOST LLC - SIBUR R&D Centre (NIOST) - Russia

These days, the bio-based plastics market is in rapid growth, and bio-based plastic products will more and more replace petroleum-based plastic products, leading to reduced CO2 emissions and therewith a positive environmental impact. The use of biocatalysts (enzymes) in the bio-plastics production value chain has the potential to add largely to this positive impact as it may substitute toxic chemical catalysts in processes using to produce polymers from bio-based feedstock. Lignin is the largest available source of aromatic building blocks for bio-based aromatic derivatives, and its abundance, e.g. from the pulp and paper industry, makes it a highly interesting potential source for novel aromatic chemicals and polymer precursors that may be polymerized by chemical and biocatalysts.

The OXYPOL project addresses the bio-based plastics value chain using biocatalysis for the degradation of lignin into aromatic building blocks and the subsequent controlled polymerization of these aromatic precursors into bio-based polymers. Highly efficient laccase mediator systems (LMS) based on abundant potential low-cost mediator compounds directly derivable from selected lignin preparations will be developed, applying enzyme engineering strategies. In combination with improving enzyme-recycling approaches for LMS involving immobilization on polymer particles and whole-cell biocatalysis, we aim at breaking crucial bottlenecks in the application of LMS based biocatalysis towards large scale industrial applications in bio-plastics production.

OXYPOL is a pan-European endeavour integrating complementaryscientific excellence and market driven R&D competence of the totally 8 academic, institutional and commercial project partners, aiming at making an impact on the biocatalysis-based bio-plastics production, with positive implications for the European bio-economy.