The BioUPGRADE action unites functional genomics and material science advances, to galvanize the sustainable transformation of nature’s major structural polymers into a cascade of high volume and specialized bioproducts. Technology ready results (TRL 4-6) are anticipated, serving as an innovation launchpad that tackles climate change while revolutionizing the materials used in our daily lives. The action is differentiated by its: 1) emphasis on upgrading nature’s main biopolymers for use in performance advantaged products with emergent properties; 2) pursuit of cell-free, biocatalytic technologies that leverage the design principles and finesse encoded in surface-acting enzymes and non-catalytic proteins, which will permit fine-tuning of natural polymer structures for customized applications that can not be achieved through dominating thermochemical approaches; and 3) creation of novel, fully bio-based materials based on controlled assembly of tailored biopolymer components, guided by new capacity to probe biopolymers and resulting materials from nano to macro scales. BioUPGRADE will apply advances in computational biology to mine untapped information in escalating genomic and proteomic datasets; introduce a bio-customize framework that stretches well beyond current synthetic biology concepts; and establish a structure-function matrix for tailored biopolymers and new assemblies. Key project deliverables include: 1) application-driven functional screens critical to breakthroughs in bio-technologies for materials engineering, 2) an innovational, biocatalyst toolbox of surface-acting proteins designed for bio-based materials engineering, and 3) protocols for controlled assembly of tailored biopolymers into fully bio-based materials, from sustainable textiles to personal health products. BioUPGRADE is positioned for success because it mobilizes proven scientific and commercial expertise in establishing lasting bio-economies that reduce reliance on fossil resources.
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