The general aim of the project is the development of a process for the material utilization of both the carbohydrate and the lignin content from lignocellulosic substrates of annual plants, particularly wheat or maize straw. The investigations basically concern:
a pre-treatment process, which allows the separation both of the lignin content and the carbohydrate content for material application,
the development of a Penicillium verruculosum enzyme complex which is optimized for the saccharification of the carbohydrate content in a process of simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF)
investigations on the SSF-process, using model strains for the production of platform chemicals, e.g. ethanol, isobutanol, isopentanol as well phenylethanol, and
the modification of the separated lignin for the production of fibre-reinforced biopolymers as well as for the production of basic chemicals.
Using wheat straw as lignocellulosic substrate, the developed Penicillium verruculosum-enzyme complex is going to be investigated in SSF for the ethanol production up to pilot scale in 150-L-bioreactor. The investigated P. verruculosum-cellulase complex is favoured for the SSF-process using the carbohydrate content of pre-treated wheat straw and exhibits advantages in comparison with the worldwide used Trichoderma reesei-cellulase complex.
For the planned investigations concerning the production of fibre-reinforced biopolymers on basis of straw lignin, we are going to include expertises from the ERA-IB-project EIB.08.025 in which the utilization of kraft-lignin for the production of fibre-reinforced biopolymers is investigated. The included results from this project contain some lignin-modifying enzymes and the knowledge about reduced VOC emissions in wheat straw lignin compared with kraft lignin (cf. www.era-ib-lignin.eu).
The successful realisation of the project opens new value added applications for the utilization of lignocellulose from annual plants like wheat and maize straw. Target groups for the utilization of the results are enzyme producers as well as the polymer and chemical industry, e.g. producers of ethanol or basic chemicals.
Project website: http://www.era-ib-lignocellulose.eu/project/