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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.3.4-02 | Award Amount: 9.94M | Year: 2012

SYNPOL aims to propel the sustainable production of new biopolymers from feedstock. SYNPOL will thereto establish a platform that integrates biopolymer production through modern processing technologies, with bacterial fermentation of syngas, and the pyrolysis of highly complex biowaste (e.g., municipal, commercial, sludge, agricultural). The R&D activities will focus on the integration of innovative physico-chemical, biochemical, downstream and synthetic technologies to produce a wide range of new biopolymers. The integration will engage novel and mutually synergistic production methods as well as the assessment of the environmental benefits and drawbacks. This integrative platform will be revolutionary in its implementation of novel microwave pyrolytic treatments together with systems-biology defined highly efficient and physiologically balanced recombinant bacteria. The latter will produce biopolymer building-blocks and polyhydroxyalkanoates that will serve to synthesize novel bio-based plastic prototypes by chemical and enzymatic catalysis. Thus, the SYNPOL platform will empower the treatment and recycling of complex biological and chemical wastes and raw materials in a single integrated process. The knowledge generated through this innovative biotechnological approach will not only benefit the environmental management of terrestrial wastes, but also reduce the harmful environmental impact of petrochemical plastics. This project offers a timely strategic action that will enable the EU to lead worldwide the syngas fermentation technology for waste revalorisation and sustainable biopolymer production.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BIOTEC-1-2014 | Award Amount: 7.06M | Year: 2015

P4SB is about the utilization of the conceptual and material tools of contemporary Synthetic Biology to bring about the sustainable and environmentally friendly bioconversion of oil-based plastic waste into fully biodegradable counterparts by means of deeply engineered, whole-cell bacterial catalysts. These tools will be used to design tailor-made enzymes for the bio-depolymerization of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PU (polyurethane), but also for the custom design of a Pseudomonas putida Cell Factory capable of metabolizing the resulting monomers. Pseudomonas putida will undergo deep metabolic surgery to channel these diverse substrates efficiently into the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) and derivatives. In addition, synthetic downstream processing modules based on the programmed non-lytic secretion of PHA will facilitate the release and recovery of the bioplastic from the bacterial biomass. These industry driven objectives will help to address the market need for novel routes to valorise the gigantic plastic waste streams in the European Union and beyond, with direct opportunities for SME partners of P4SB spanning the entire value chain from plastic waste via Synthetic Biology to biodegradable plastic. As a result we anticipate a completely biobased process reducing the environmental impact of plastic waste by establishing it as a novel bulk second generation carbon source for industrial biotechnology, while at the same time opening new opportunities for the European plastic recycling industry and helping to achieve the ambitious recycling targets set by the European Union for 2020.


Nikodinovic-Runic J.,University of Belgrade | Guzik M.,Bioplastech | Kenny S.T.,Bioplastech | Babu R.,Trinity College Dublin | And 2 more authors.
Advances in Applied Microbiology | Year: 2013

Research into the production of biodegradable polymers has been driven by vision for the most part from changes in policy, in Europe and America. These policies have their origins in the Brundtland Report of 1987, which provides a platform for a more sustainable society. Biodegradable polymers are part of the emerging portfolio of renewable raw materials seeking to deliver environmental, social, and economic benefits. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are naturally-occurring biodegradable-polyesters accumulated by bacteria usually in response to inorganic nutrient limitation in the presence of excess carbon. Most of the early research into PHA accumulation and technology development for industrial-scale production was undertaken using virgin starting materials. For example, polyhydroxybutyrate and copolymers such as polyhydroxybutyrate-co-valerate are produced today at industrial scale from corn-derived glucose. However, in recent years, research has been undertaken to convert domestic and industrial wastes to PHA. These wastes in today's context are residuals seen by a growing body of stakeholders as platform resources for a biobased society. In the present review, we consider residuals from food, plastic, forest and lignocellulosic, and biodiesel manufacturing (glycerol). Thus, this review seeks to gain perspective of opportunities from literature reporting the production of PHA from carbon-rich residuals as feedstocks. A discussion on approaches and context for PHA production with reference to pure- and mixed-culture technologies is provided. Literature reports advocate results of the promise of waste conversion to PHA. However, the vast majority of studies on waste to PHA is at laboratory scale. The questions of surmounting the technical and political hurdles to industrialization are generally left unanswered. There are a limited number of studies that have progressed into fermentors and a dearth of pilot-scale demonstration. A number of fermentation studies show that biomass and PHA productivity can be increased, and sometimes dramatically, in a fermentor. The relevant application-specific properties of the polymers from the wastes studied and the effect of altered-waste composition on polymer properties are generally not well reported and would greatly benefit the progress of the research as high productivity is of limited value without the context of requisite case-specific polymer properties. The proposed use of a waste residual is advantageous from a life cycle viewpoint as it removes the direct or indirect effect of PHA production on land usage and food production. However, the question, of how economic drivers will promote or hinder advancements to demonstration scale, when wastes generally become understood as resources for a biobased society, hangs today in the balance due to a lack of shared vision and the legacy of mistakes made with first generation bioproducts. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Radivojevic J.,University of Belgrade | Skaro S.,University of Belgrade | Senerovic L.,University of Belgrade | Vasiljevic B.,University of Belgrade | And 7 more authors.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology | Year: 2016

A library of 18 different compounds was synthesized starting from (R)-3-hydroxyoctanoic acid which is derived from the bacterial polymer polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). Ten derivatives, including halo and unsaturated methyl and benzyl esters, were synthesized and characterized for the first time. Given that (R)-3-hydroxyalkanoic acids are known to have biological activity, the new compounds were evaluated for antimicrobial activity and in vitro antiproliferative effect with mammalian cell lines. The presence of the carboxylic group was essential for the antimicrobial activity, with minimal inhibitory concentrations against a panel of bacteria (Gram-positive and Gram-negative) and fungi (Candida albicans and Microsporum gypseum) in the range 2.8–7.0 mM and 0.1–6.3 mM, respectively. 3-Halogenated octanoic acids exhibited the ability to inhibit C. albicans hyphae formation. In addition, (R)-3-hydroxyoctanoic and (E)-oct-2-enoic acids inhibited quorum sensing-regulated pyocyanin production in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. Generally, derivatives did not inhibit mammalian cell proliferation even at 3-mM concentrations, while only (E)-oct-2-enoic and 3-oxooctanoic acid had IC50 values of 1.7 and 1.6 mM with the human lung fibroblast cell line. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Guzik M.W.,University College Dublin | Guzik M.W.,Bioplastech | Kenny S.T.,University College Dublin | Kenny S.T.,Bioplastech | And 9 more authors.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology | Year: 2014

A process for the conversion of post consumer (agricultural) polyethylene (PE) waste to the biodegradable polymer medium chain length polyhydroxyalkanoate (mcl-PHA) is reported here. The thermal treatment of PE in the absence of air (pyrolysis) generated a complex mixture of low molecular weight paraffins with carbon chain lengths from C8 to C32 (PE pyrolysis wax). Several bacterial strains were able to grow and produce PHA from this PE pyrolysis wax. The addition of biosurfactant (rhamnolipids) allowed for greater bacterial growth and PHA accumulation of the tested strains. Some strains were only capable of growth and PHA accumulation in the presence of the biosurfactant. Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO-1 accumulated the highest level of PHA with almost 25 % of the cell dry weight as PHA when supplied with the PE pyrolysis wax in the presence of rhamnolipids. The change of nitrogen source from ammonium chloride to ammonium nitrate resulted in faster bacterial growth and the earlier onset of PHA accumulation. To our knowledge, this is the first report where PE is used as a starting material for production of a biodegradable polymer. © 2014 Springer-Verlag.


PubMed | University of Belgrade and Bioplastech
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Applied microbiology and biotechnology | Year: 2016

A library of 18 different compounds was synthesized starting from (R)-3-hydroxyoctanoic acid which is derived from the bacterial polymer polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). Ten derivatives, including halo and unsaturated methyl and benzyl esters, were synthesized and characterized for the first time. Given that (R)-3-hydroxyalkanoic acids are known to have biological activity, the new compounds were evaluated for antimicrobial activity and in vitro antiproliferative effect with mammalian cell lines. The presence of the carboxylic group was essential for the antimicrobial activity, with minimal inhibitory concentrations against a panel of bacteria (Gram-positive and Gram-negative) and fungi (Candida albicans and Microsporum gypseum) in the range 2.8-7.0mM and 0.1-6.3mM, respectively. 3-Halogenated octanoic acids exhibited the ability to inhibit C. albicans hyphae formation. In addition, (R)-3-hydroxyoctanoic and (E)-oct-2-enoic acids inhibited quorum sensing-regulated pyocyanin production in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. Generally, derivatives did not inhibit mammalian cell proliferation even at 3-mM concentrations, while only (E)-oct-2-enoic and 3-oxooctanoic acid had IC50 values of 1.7 and 1.6mM with the human lung fibroblast cell line.


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