The proposed work uses a novel synthetic biology platform to create gene combinations which give the optimal degradation (with regards to efficiency and products produced) of waste lignin. These combinations may then be used as a starting point to generate further combinations in an iterative design-make-test process. This will create value for the user in terms of improvements in the yield of lignin conversion to useable feedstock. In addition to enabling the optimisation of enzyme blends for any given application, analysis of the results will allow the team to develop heuristics which will facilitate the rational design of whole biomass processing systems in the future, and will lead to a deeper understanding of biomass degradation processes. The technology developed will be offered to the marketplace by Ingenza Ltd. There are a number of possible routes for commercialisation including: i.) Biomanufacture of bulk quantities of the enzyme blend for sale direct to biorefinery operators. ii.) Licensing of the specific cell line as a lignolytic processing tool. iii.) Provision of a contract service to customers wishing to have a bespoke digestion chassis.
Professor Alistair Elfick