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New enzymatic oxidation/oxyfunctionalization technologies for added value bio-based products (EnzOx2)
Start date: Nov 1, 2016, End date: Oct 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Sustainable production of chemical building blocks and other added value products from plant biomass is required for a bio-based economy. However, the biomass biorefineries should benefit not only from the use of renewable feedstocks but also from greener and more efficient bio-chemical technologies. Previous projects have shown the potential of oxidative enzymes in the production of some added value compounds from biomass components. Of special interest are still unexplored oxidation/oxyfunctionalization reactions (of sugar and lipid compounds) by microbial oxidoreductases, including new (self-sufficient) heme-thiolate peroxygenases. In this context, EnzOx2 plans to develop a 100% biochemical conversion of bio-based 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) into diformylfuran, a platform chemical, and 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), a plastic building-block. Oxidases (flavo and copper/radical) and peroxygenases will be used to perform the three-step oxidation of HMF to FDCA in a co-substrate and side-product free, one-pot conversion. On the other hand, highly (regio/stereo) selective hydroxylation of plant lipids (such as fatty acids, terpenes and steroids) by peroxygenases will be optimized for cost-effective production of flavours and fragrances (F&F), active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and others. ENZOX2 aims to solve some main bottlenecks in these industrial processes by the use of bio-chemical tools (new/engineered enzymes and optimized biotransformations), to be later validated at the pilot/flagship scale. To attain this objective the consortium includes: i) two world leaders in industrial enzymes (Novozymes) and F&F (Firmenich); ii) two chemical SMEs producing HMF and chiral APIs (AVA-Biochem and Chiracon); iii) two specialized biotechnology SMEs (JenaBios and CLEA); iv) one technology centre in the Plastics sector (AIMPLAS); and v) three CSIC institutes and two universities (Dresden and Delft) with expertise in enzyme reactions and bioprocess implementation.

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