French SynBio Biotech to ferment wood for Carbon-free Future

15/03/2016 - 3 minutes

Deinove (Montpelier) and Arbiom (Evry) are two Biotechs from France which have now partnered to transform wood residues into added-value chemicals – a step closer to the ideal Bioeconomy. 

deinove_deinococci_green_chemistry_biorefinery_arbiom_biomass_pretreatment_lignin_optafuel_biomethodes_bioskogDeinove is one of our favourite Green Chemistry and SynBio Biotechs, developing micro-factories with their library of Deinococcus. Its projects range from using tobacco plants to making carotenoids, also with a good US presence.

Deinococcus bacteria are especially suited to use in industrial processes, as the strain is very resistant (to low or high pH, high temperatures, toxic chemicals etc.), and has unusual enzymatic and metabolic pathways. Its DNA is also relatively easy to engineer.

Given the potential of the Deinococcus platform, Deinove is well positioned to implement the concept of biorefinery to use biomass to produce chemistry building blocks (like in an oil refinery). These can later be used to make anything – biofuels, bioplastics and even drugs.

The processing units in the Biorefinery (Source: Arbiom)

The partnership with Arbiom comes into play in the earlier stage of the biorefinery. Arbiom has a patented process for the necessary pre-treatment of wood residues. This type of biomass has a high content of lignin, which can prove difficult (and expensive) to separate from other cellulosic materials.

Using Arbiom technology will allow widening the sources of raw materials, which can be acquired from other industries (such as sawmills or paper producers). The sugars extracted from wood are then fed to Deinove’s bacteriawhich have the potential to ferment them into other chemicals of interest.

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This partnership was struck on the basis of promising results for assimilation tests –  i.e. how the Deinococci grew on the sugars produced by the process. The next stage will be to assess exactly what products can be created by Deinove’s fermentation platform.

Arbiom’s role: to process wood into lignin and sugars, that can later be fermented (Source: Arbiom)

Arbiom is the result of the merger between US OptaFuel and Biométhodes (France). Arbiom is retaining its Biotechnology Center in Evry, but the research of this particular partnership is likely to be carried in Virgina (US).

Arbiom also struck another partnership with a French branch of Norske Skog, a Norwegian pulp and paper producer, to create a commercial biorefinery (BioSkog) in the French region of Lorraine. Yet more French Synthetic Biology…

This surely is an interesting partnership, integrating different parts of the biorefinery chain of value and spanning across Europe and the US.

We interviewed Deinove for the Labiotech Tour of France…
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Deinove from on Vimeo.

Feature credit image: Logs (CC 2.0 Iain Farrell)
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