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New-to-nature biosurfactants by metabolic engineering: production and application

Objective

"This project aims to create new-to-nature and tailor-made biosurfactants through metabolic engineering of the unconventional yeast Candida bombicola. Biosurfactants produced by fermentation offer a worthy alternative to traditional surfactants, which are typically derived from non-renewable petrochemical resources and may cause environmental problems due to their ecotoxicity and poor biodegradability. Despite the clear advantages of biosurfactants, their overall use is hampered by the lack of structural variation. This is in sharp contrast to chemically produced surfactants where one can introduce variation by simply changing the building blocks. Structural variation is essential as (bio)surfactants find application in a very broad range of sectors. This project aims to alleviate this fundamental limitation by developing a generic biotechnological production technology for glycolipid biosurfactants. This will in turn significantly broaden the range of commercial biosurfactants, satisfying the need for structural diversity in the market. It is expected that this technology will result in a breakthrough penetration of glycolipid biosurfactants in the overall surfactant market, in this way helping to build the bio-based economy.
Indeed, biosurfactants are a promising target for the biobased economy as the world surfactant production exceeds 13 Mton/year and is meanly based on petrochemical raw materials.

The very efficient biosurfactant producing yeast C. bombicola will be metabolically engineered such that all structural parts of the glycolipid biosurfactant molecule can be controlled: fatty acid tail, sugar moiety, acetylation and lactonization. New technology for metabolic engineering of unconventional organisms such as the use of meganucleases will be developed and strains will be evaluated by several “omics” approaches: proteomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics . Metabolically engineered production strains equipped with new combinations of genes and pathways will synthesize tailor-made and new-to-nature biosurfactants. For each target molecule, a fermentation process will be developed and the molecules will be evaluated for various applications (cleaning and cosmetics, medics and nanoscience). The project thus covers the whole innovation chain from basic research to production and application development. To achieve this goal, a complementary consortium of European academic and industrial partners (including a large participation of SMEs) has been formed that covers the whole range of required expertises.
In brief, BIOSURFING promotes the use of biotechnology as a valid production process for novel industrial compounds, the development of biotechnological platform technologies and robust microbial industrial production systems. Moreover, the projects helps to realise the objectives of EU environmental and innovation policy initiatives, such as the Environmental Technology Action Plan and the EU Strategy for key enabling technologies."

Call for proposal

FP7-KBBE-2011-5
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

CP-TP - Collaborative Project targeted to a special group (such as SMEs)
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Coordinator

UNIVERSITEIT GENT
Address
Sint Pietersnieuwstraat 25
9000 Gent
Belgium
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 107 758
Administrative Contact
Wim Soetaert (Prof.)

Participants (7)

CELLECTIS SA
France
EU contribution
€ 296 150
Address
Rue Jean Antoine De Baif 12
75013 Paris
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
David J.D. Sourdive (Dr.)
UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 376 798
Address
Cromore Road
BT52 1SA Coleraine
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Anne Marie Patton (Dr.)
BIO BASE EUROPE PILOT PLANT VZW
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 692 684
Address
Rodenhuizekaai 1
9042 Desteldonk Gent
Activity type
Other
Administrative Contact
Vindevogel Sofia (Ms.)
WERNER & MERTZ GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 56 945
Address
Rheinallee 96
55120 Mainz
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Rebekka Völp (Ms.)
TSATSOS GEORGIOS
Greece
EU contribution
€ 74 120
Address
Ioannou Metaxa 56
19400 Koropi
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Georgios Tsatsos (Dr.)
ECOVER CO ORDINATION CENTER NV
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 50 118
Address
Steenovenstraat 1 Bus A
2390 Malle
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Elke Theeuwes (Mrs.)
UNIVERSITE PIERRE ET MARIE CURIE - PARIS 6
France
EU contribution
€ 316 040
Address
Place Jussieu 4
75252 Paris
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Ouerdia Oumohand (Ms.)