Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology and TU Graz
CARBAFIN – Developing a glycosylation platform technology to an industrial level
Focus area / active in:
- New tools/instruments for the bio-based industry
- Bioprocesses & technologies
- Green economy, circular economy, circular bioeconomy
- industrial biotechnolgy
- process optimization
- environmental evaluation
CARBAFIN is a collaborative research project funded by the European Union in the framework of Horizon 2020. Within this project we establish a phosphorylase-based platform technology for sustainable production of functional glucosides from sucrose.
We aim at conversion of both sucrose moieties (glucose and fructose) separately into value-added products at industrial scale. Thereby a new value chain for utilization of sugar beet biomass in the EU will be generated. The glucoside products of CARBAFIN (demonstrated for glucosylglycerol and cellodextrin) are widely used for food and feed, cosmetics and detergents and the equimolar accumulated fructose stream is evaluated for the production of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a versatile chemical building block currently considered for making bio-based plastics.
CARBAFIN is a showcase for a holistic approach to bioprocess optimization. Biocatalyst optimization is done on the one side on the enzyme level by discovery and engineering of highly active, specific and stable phosphorylase variants. On the other side whole cell catalysts are improved by optimized multi-enzyme expression, cell permeabilisation and immobilisation. Design and optimization of the synthetic reaction is guided by in-silico modelling based on thorough enzyme characterization. Bioconversion setup is co-developed with downstream process optimization and engineering. For separation of the resulting saccharide streams nanofiltration was established as a central unit operation. For using the fructose side stream of the bioprocess for HMF production a switch in DSP technology to reactive extraction is explored. The whole process development is accompanied by environmental and economical evaluation.
In summary, CARBAFIN contributes to the establishment of new, fully renewables-based value chains across the European industries, linking the sugar industry sector to the cosmetics, chemicals, polymer and detergents sectors and strengthening the sugar industries’ role in food and feed. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 761030 (CARBAFIN).
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