Value-added chemicals from biomass
In this UK industry-sponsored project, we aimed at developing integrated bioprocess for the conversion of biomass to added-value products, e.g cells, enzymes, sugars, oils and biofuels.
We delivered a novel process for adding value to algae residue by producing more microbial oil in additional steps -as shown within the dotted box in the figure below.
Some microalgae have been favoured by evolution with a system of enzymes and reserve carbohydrates that are usually converted into glucose (food) in periods of starvation.
This enzymes-carbohydrates system remain inactive in the dead microalgae by-product from oil biorefineries, but it can be reactivated to produce glucose in an easy and economical way in the test tube. The resulting broth rich in glucose mixed with other nutritional elements are an excellent feedstock to grow other cells.
We applied this concept as basis to propose a novel process (see Bioresource Technology, 116, 295-301).