SYNPOL

"Biopolymers from Syngas Fermentation"

Participating partners from academic institutions and industry:

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Partner 1. CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones    

                  Científicas)  -  Project Coordinator

Partner 1a. The Biological Research Centre (CIB-CSIC) (Coordinator)

The Biological Research Centre (CIB) is a public funded national research institute that belongs to the National Spanish Research Council (CSIC). The CIB is one of the best equipped research centers for developing projects on Biotechnology and Molecular Microbiology in Spain. Available facilities at CIB as central services are: automatic DNA sequencing, quantitative RT-PCR, DNA chip analysis platform, oligonucleotide and peptide synthesis, protein chemistry (protein sequencing, proteomics, spectroscopy, NMR, analytical ultracentrifugation, crystallization), chromatographic analyses (HPLC, GC-MS), microscopy (electronic, confocal), fermentation, bioinformatics. The Environmental Biotechnology group is part of the Environmental Biology Department of the CIB from the National Spanish Research Council (CSIC). It is one of the largest groups of the Institute (average 18 persons), being supported by the scientific contributions of three staff researchers (J.L. García, E. Díaz and M.A. Prieto) and several postdocs, students and technicians. The group was created more than 15 years ago by Prof. José L. García to explore and exploit the bacterial capabilities for degrading pollutants in order to contribute to planet sustainability. Since 2004, the group extended its interest on the metabolism of bacterial biopolyesters. The research group is currently participating in various international projects dedicating its efforts to the study of the production of biopolymers in microorganisms. This topic is addressed from different approaches from metagenomic libraries, screening for new enzymes for modifying/synthesizing bacterial polyesters, to Systems Biology strategies on the study of the central carbon metabolism of different aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to redirect the carbon flux to polyester synthesis.

URL: www.cib.csic.es   and   http://www.cib.csic.es/es/departamento.php?iddepartamento=7

Participating personnel:

Prof. José L. García, Dr. M. Auxiliadora Prieto, Dr. Eduardo Díaz, Dr. Oliver Drzyzga, Dr. Olga Revelles, Dr. Gonzalo Durante, Dr. Juan Nogales  

 

Partner 1b. National Institute of Carbon (INCAR-CSIC)

The National Institute of Coal (INCAR) which has its headquarters in Oviedo is a centre that belongs to the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). CSIC is the largest public multidisciplinary research organisation in Spain. The CSIC has 116 Institutes or centres distributed throughout Spain. There is also a delegation in Brussels. It has considerable experience in both participating and managing R&D projects and training grants. The CSIC is the 5th organisation in Europe in project execution and funding. Therefore INCAR-CSIC has the experience, and the human and administrative resources necessary for a proper development of the project. The group of carbon materials for technological applications MCAT at INCAR-CSIC (http://www.incar.csic.es/tecnologia/mcat/) has developed a method for producing gases with high concentrations of syngas (H2 + CO), i.e., up to 70%, from the microwave-assisted pyrolysis of different types of biomass (e.g., sewage sludge, coffee hulls, glycerine, microalgae, etc.). The group is equipped with an adequate human and laboratory equipment for developing the tasks proposed in the Project. This expertise is reflected in the several participations in research projects, at local, national and European level, and the numerous works published in scientific journals or presented in international forums.   

URL: www.incar.csic.es     and    

www.incar.csic.es/mcat/

Participating personnel:

Dr. J. Ángel Menéndez, Dr. Ana Arenillas, Dr. Esther Gomez Calvo, Dr. Miguel Montes, Daniel Beneroso Vallejo

 

Partner 2. UNIMAN (The University of Manchester) 

In its first phase (funded to >6M£ by the BBSRC and EPSRC) the Manchester Centre for Integrative Systems Biology (MCISB) has prepared just what is needed for the systems biology of this project, i.e a complete toolbox from computational analyses through experimental approaches to data handing and organization. The result can be found in a set of web resources and in the most recent issue of Methods in Enzymology devoted to Systems Biology by the MCISB. The MCISB is now continuing, partly in two Biotechnology Research Industry Club (BRIC) projects funded by the BBSRC (on protein production in various microorganisms using various feedstocks), as well as by a large number of other BBSRC and EU grants. With its PIs Westerhoff, Snoep and Mendes MCISB is world leading in systems biology.

URL: www.manchester.ac.uk 

Participating personnel:

Prof. Hans V. Westerhoff, Dr. Malkhey Verma   

 

Partner 3. UULM (Universität Ulm) 

Founded in 1967, the University of Ulm enjoys an excellent reputation for innovative research, interdisciplinarity and successful training. Its 4 faculties (Engineering and Computer Science; Mathematics and Economics; Medicine; Natural Sciences) support some 8700 students. The university plays a central role of the Scientific City of Ulm, not only as the region's biggest educational facility, but also as an important motor for R&D. The research profile is characterised by its focus on life sciences and medicine, information and communication technologies, nano- and bio-materials as well as financial services and their mathematical methodology. Other special sectors such as pharmaceutical biotechnology, technology- and process-management are currently being implemented. The University of Ulm was awarded an International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine in the so-called German Excellence Initiative in 2007.

URL: www.uni-ulm.de       and    

http://www.uni-ulm.de/nawi/nawi-mikrobio.html

Participating personnel:

Prof. Peter Dürre, Catarina Erz, Sebastian Flüchter, Sabrina Hoffmeister   

 

Partner 4. UCD (University College Dublin) 

UCD is a leading European research-intensive university where 3rd level undergraduate education, 4th level postgraduate masters and PhD training, research, innovation and community engagement form a continuum of activity. We strive to advance knowledge through high quality research and scholarship, to communicate knowledge through excellence in teaching and to use new knowledge to develop the businesses, products, policies and services of tomorrow. Through innovative links in Ireland and Internationally UCD has forged exciting educational and research partnerships and collaborations with other academic, industrial and not-for-profit organisations. UCD aims to foster ideas, cultivate learning, encourage discovery and provide an enabling environment for holistic development of students. The University is home to over 3,500 international students from over 100 countries. UCD runs overseas programmes in partnership with leading international universities and education providers in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, and Sri Lanka. UCD students have access to a range of study abroad opportunities through the Erasmus Mundus programme and through UCD’s membership of the Universitas 21 network of global research universities. Our academics operate in an environment that encourages cross-disciplinary research, thereby drawing on the academic diversity that is UCD’s great strength, and collaborate extensively both within Ireland and with leading international research institutions.

URL: www.ucd.ie     and     www.ucd.ie/biocatal/biocatal/Welcome.html

Participating personnel:

Prof. Kevin O’ Connor, Dr. Tanja Narancic, Elisa Scollica  

 

Partner 5. HES-SO (Haute Ecole Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale) 

Opened in 1997, the HES-SO is the largest professional higher education network in Switzerland. It currently hosts some 15'000 students.Its 27 schools located in the cantons of Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud and Berne offer courses and other services in six major fields of study: Engineering and Architecture, Management and Services, Design and Fine Arts, Health, Social Work and Music and Theater.Located in Sion, the HES-SO Valais Wallis is an important element of this network. Biotechnology at the HES-SO is run under the motto “from gene to product”. Its different laboratories are dedicated to molecular biology (accredited laboratory active in gene cloning, development of new expression platforms, detection/identification of various microorganisms and DNA fragments by PCR-based methods) bioprocess engineering (yeast, bacterial and animal cell fermentations), enzyme reaction engineering and downstream processing.The biotech pilot plant is equipped with state-of-the art bioreactors ranging from 0.5 to 300 L and fitted with a regulation system developed in-house. Equipment for downstream processing includes centrifuges and filters for biomass recovery, bead mill and high pressure homogenizer for cell lysis, preparative chromatography and adsorption (in fixed and expanded bed modes). Membrane filtration equipments are also featured, which permit fractionation and concentration of biomolecules as well as diafiltration (buffer exchange) of liquid media.

URL:www.hes-so.ch 

Participating personnel:

Prof. Manfred Zinn, Dr. Stéphanie Follonier,  Stephanie Karmann, Aldo Vaccari, Michael Sequeira 

 

Partner 6. KTH (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan) 

KTH is responsible for one third of Sweden’s capacity for technical research and is the country’s largest organizer of technical/engineering education at university level. KTH is organized into nine Schools, each covering a major field of engineering science. KTH is currently involved in around 140 ongoing EU projects. Department of Fibre and Polymer Technology is one of the leading departments in the area, which was also shown by the international RAE performed by KTH in 2008. At the department there is broad competence in both synthetic and natural polymers as well as in fiber based materials. The research ranges from synthesis, modification, characterization and degradation to processing of polymers.The focus areas of Polymer Technology group include degradable and renewable materials especially for packaging and biomedical applications. This includes polymerization, modification, characterization and testing of the synthesized materials and their interaction with the surroundings. Previous research of the group includes synthesis of advanced polymer and macromolecular architectures with tuned properties, modification of materials through blending, copolymerization and surface modification as well as development of characterization methods especially advanced chromatographic and mass spectrometric characterization. Long-term properties and degradation on inert and degradable materials in different environments is also one of the key research areas. This includes understanding the interactions between polymers and their surroundings through characterization of matrix changes and identification and migration of degradation products and additives.

URL: www.kth.se 

Participating personnel:

Prof. Minna Hakkarainen, Dr. Karin Odelius, Xi Yang   

 

Partner 7. WWUM (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)

The Institute of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU) has a long lasting and outstanding tradition in microbiology and biotechnology. With in total four Professors and at present about 60 employees it represents one of the largest research institutes at a university in these fields in Germany. The laboratory of Prof. Steinbüchel is experienced in the fields of bacterial metabolism with approximately 320 original publications plus 60 reviews in peer-reviewed international journals resulting from studies of microbial metabolism and the biochemistry and molecular genetics of biotechnologically interesting and relevant bacteria. Current research activities comprise research on the biosynthesis of biopolymers like polyhydroxyalkanoates, polythioesters and cyanophycin, the biosynthesis of microbial lipids, the biodegradation of natural and synthetic rubbers and on the catabolism of ferulic acid and vanillin. One focus of the research regarding the used organism is Ralstonia eutropha; investigated by Dr. Steinbüchel since more then 30 years. One focus regarding the area of research is the identification and characterization of enzymes involved in biosynthesis of the compounds mentioned above. The laboratory made in the past several important contributions to the research on biopolymers and also on the detection and characterization of key enzymes for biotechnological relevant pathways. This includes the detection of novel biopolymers and other microbial products, the provision of knowledge about the biosynthesis routes of these compounds and its biochemical and molecular basis as well as the establishment and improvement of processes for their production. Among the laboratories of this partner is one large laboratory equipped with bioreactors from 1 to 500 L working volume, including the necessary equipment to control fermentation processes and also equipment for downstream processing. This bioreactor laboratory allows the cultivation of bacteria and other microorganisms at a large scale and as a consequence also the production of various bacterial metabolites for material characterization and testing of applications. Moreover, the laboratories are well equipped for purification and characterization of biopolymers and proteins, and the relevant techniques in molecular genetics including DNA sequencing and mutagenesis of nucleic acids are established and applied since a long period.

URL: www.uni-muenster.de        and


http://mibi1.uni-muenster.de/Biologie.IMMB.Steinbuechel/en/Index.html

Participating personnel:

Prof. Alexander Steinbüchel, Dr. Matthias Raberg, Daniel Heinrich   

 

Partner 8. UNISTRA (Université de Strasbourg) 

University of Strasbourg (UNISTRA) is one of the best French Universities (World’s Top 14 in Chemistry, according to a recent ranking). LIPHT (Laboratory of Engineering Polymers for High Technologies) is the Polymer lab of ECPM (European engineering school of Chemistry, Polymers and Materials). LIPHT integrates fundamental and applied researches in Polymer science with three groups. Our group (BioTeam, directed by Prof. Luc Avérous) focuses on Biopolymers for Environmental and Biomedical Applications. It is one of the major French teams in biobased and/or biodegradable polymers, with a large international network. This team is dedicated to two main research lines: environmental (compostable packaging, biobased building materials, agriculture ...) and biomedical applications. This research relies on the integration from the biomass to the final object, based on bioproduction (biochemistry), polymer chemistry, process and materials characterization. Website: www.biodeg.NET  

Relevant previous experience: Participation in EU Projects: FP6 IP BIOPRODUCTION (Sustainable Microbial and Biocatalytic Production of Advanced Functional Materials). UNISTRA / LIPHT was a partner of this EU project, ended December 2010.

URL: www.unistra.fr   and

www.biodeg.net 

Participating personnel:

Prof. Luc Avérous, Dr. Eric Pollet, Dr. Anna Meszynska, Dr. Zarah Walsh-Korb

 

Partner 9. Biopolis  (Biopolis S.L.) 

Biopolis SL is a leading microbial biotechnology company based in Valencia (Spain) offering Contract Research and Manufacturing. Created in October 2003, Biopolis is the only Spanish company owned directly by the National Spanish Research Council (CSIC). Biopolis shares are distributed between CSIC (15%), Natraceutical Group (25%), Corporación Alimentaria Peñasanta (25%) and Talde Venture Capital (19.4%). Our core competences are the isolation, selection, design, characterization, validation and production of microorganisms and cellular metabolites with applications in sectors such as agrofood, pharma and chemical sectors. Prototype projects are the isolation, selection, validation and production of starters and probiotics, the selection and production of enzymes for industrial applications, the identification, characterization and process development of functional ingredients, the overexpression of recombinant protein in microbial systems, the overproduction of synthesis intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients by fermentation, the design of novel processes based on microbial and enzymatic catalysis for biochemicals production. These activities are developed following a customized, project-driven strategy. Biopolis has some experience in collaborative R&D projects, both in national (CENIT) and international consortia (VI, VII FWP, ERA-IB). Biopolis facilities spread over 1,500 m2 located in the Scientific Park of the Universidad de Valencia, hosting 9 specialized and fully equipped research laboratories (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, Microbiology, Filamentous Fungi, Cell Culture, Chemistry, Analytics, and Bench-top fermentation) and an industrial plant with a total capacity of 9,000 L fermentation.

URL: www.biopolis.es

Participating personnel:

Prof. Daniel Ramón, Dr. Marta Tortajada, Dr. Antonia Rojas, Silvia Segarra   

 

Partner 10. Bioplastech  (Bioplastech Ltd.) 

Bioplastech is an SME with patented technology for biodegradable plastic manufacture from sustainable and waste resources, and biopolymer processing technology. Bioplastech in collaboration with TCD and UCD has also developed novel mclPHA bioploymer blends. Bioplastech has a pilot scale facility located in Dublin Ireland with a production up to 1500L fermentation capacity and polymer processing to pilot scale. Bioplastech works closely with its industrial partner Befesa G.R.I. a subsidiary of Abengoa group Spain to produce biodegradable plastics from waste and renewable resources.

URL:  www.bioplastech.eu

Participating personnel:

Dr. Ramesh Babu, Dr. Alexis Pacquit, Dr. Shane Kenny, Dr. Laura Morales

 

Partner 11. OWS  (Organic Waste Systems NV) 

Organic Waste Systems (OWS) is a stock company under Belgian law, constituted in 1988. The company is mainly active in following areas: the area of engineering, construction and operation of composting and biogasification plants, the area of biodegradation and composting laboratory testing and the area of waste management consulting services. OWS developed the anaerobic Dranco-process to treat several types of waste streams. In the last years OWS also offers processes for energy crops, namely Dranco-Farm and BES reactor types. OWS has experience with the digestion of several types of waste, energy crops, manure and industrial side streams. Moreover the OWS contract research laboratory division has a longstanding experience in the field of biodegradation and compostability testing. OWS is involved in the development of test procedures (and international standards) to evaluate the biodegradation of materials under different environments (compost, soil, anaerobic, water). OWS was, and still is, very actively involved in various standardisation committees and standardisation projects: ISO TC61/SC5/WG22 - Biodegradable Plastics (Off. Belgian delegate); ISO TC122/SC4/WG 7 – Packaging and Environment – Organic Recycling (Off. Belgian delegate); CEN TC261/SC4/WG2: Packaging-Organic Recovery (Off. Belgian delegate); CEN TC249/WG9 : Plastics – Degradability (Off. Belgian delegate); ASTM D 20.96 Degradable Plastics; D 10 Packaging; D 34 Waste Management. Furthermore OWS has experience in Life Cycle Assessment studies in previous and current EU projects.OWS is an international testing company with extensive experience in the field of assessing the biodegradability, compostability and ecotoxicity of polymers, lubricants, paper products, chemicals, and other materials. OWS is recognized as testing lab on compostability by certification institutes in Europe (Din Certco, Vinçotte) and world-wide (BPI (USA), ABA (Australia),…) and has broad experience on anaerobic digestion of waste streams. We are currently involved in EU projects FP7-KBBE-2007-3-1-04-FORBIOPLAST: Contribution OWS: biodegradation and compostability testing, LCA; FP7-SME-2008-1-23197-HYDRUS: Contribution OWS: biodegradation; and ECO/09/256032/SI2.566276-ECOBIONET: Contribution OWS: biodegradation and compostability testing. In the past OWS was also a partner in other EU project such as EU QKL5-CT-2000-00799-BIOPACK in which we were responsible for biodegradability and compostability testing, LCA, and economical evaluation of different waste treatment scenarios.

URL: www.ows.be

Participating personnel:  

Steven Verstichel, Bruno de Wilde, Kamila Mascart  

 

Partner 12. BIONET  (Bionet Servicios Tecnicos S.L.) 

BIONET INGENIERIA was founded in 1999 as a service engineering company. We are a fully independent company dedicated to the business of design and construction process engineering systems and plants. We provide engineering services and turn key process packages for production and environmental needs in diverse industries :- Biotechnology - Chemical - Environment - Defence

Our headquarters is placed in the Fuente Álamo Technology Park in Fuente Álamo (Murcia), a hub of innovation and technical research in South East Spain. We have a permanent work force of 35 – 40 professionals, 80% of them with scientific and engineering degrees. We are able to supply +100.000 hours per year of technical consulting and engineering. We have our Workshop for automation and FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) area for skid or pilot plants.

URL: www.bionet.com

Participating personnel:

Ricardo Egea, Enrique López, Claus Grünwald, Nuria Sainz, Ruth Ordoñez   

 

Partner 13. INFORS  (Infors AG) 

INFORS HT, a Swiss SME, is a major constructor of equipment for biotechnology laboratories, which was founded in 1965. It has been constructing bioreactors and bioprocess control software for applications involving biopolymer bioprocesses for decades. Unorthodox ideas, open thinking, a lot of creativity were always the cornerstone of INFORS HT’s success. INFORS HT has an unrivalled depth of experience to provide sophisticated solutions for special bioprocesses. Innovation has been always our greatest strength and has been honoured in 2006 with winning the “Swiss Technology Award 2006”.

URL: www.infors-ht.com

Participating personnel:

Daniel Egger, Dirk Hebel

 

Partner 14. BEFESA-GRI  (Befesa Gestión de Residuos Industriales; terminated after month 14) 

Befesa Gestión de Residuos Industriales (GRI) is a company that specialises in providing Specialised Industrial Cleaning and Waste Management Services. The company belongs to the Befesa Group, the environmental division of Abengoa. The Waste Management and Industrial Cleaning business units are made up of over 600 professionals, working at 27 operations centres in Spain, France and Portugal. The company is ranked as the first provider of industrial waste management services in Spain, based on volume of managed waste. It is also considered to be the number one provider of specialised industrial cleaning services. Befesa has extensive experience in the environmental sector and has both highly specialised human and material resources to manage industrial waste and to develop industrial cleaning activities, to undertake projects in Spain and abroad. Befesa’s technical team develops its own systems, incorporating the latest technologies to design specific solutions for each client and sector. Via a network of Waste Treatment and Recycling Centres using the latest technology in waste treatment, recovery and recycling, Befesa provides an integrated service, offering all environmental services required by industrial clients. This service portfolio is complemented with the possibility of incorporating on-site treatment facilities and soil remediation activities. Befesa GRI manage over a million tons of waste per year, treat on site over 150,000 tons of material and provide industrial services, chemical cleaning services, and catalyst services equivalent to over 600,000 man hours.

URL: www.befesa-gri.com

 

Partner 15. Abengoa-Res  (Abengoa Research S. L.; entered on month 15 to the consortium)

Abengoa Research (AR) is a company created in 2011 belonging to Abengoa SA and built on the core values ​​of Abengoa. Abengoa is an international company that applies innovative technology solutions for sustainable development in the energy and environment sectors, generating electricity from the sun, producing biofuels, desalinating sea water and recycling industrial waste. AR's mission is to make an impact on the "development of innovative technological solutions" and, more specifically, conducting fundamental research in the subject areas of interest to Abengoa: production and storage of renewable energy, the production of energy carriers that help sustainability (i.e., hydrogen, bioethanol...) and obtaining valuable products from waste. With this purpose in mind, Abengoa Research has formed a human group of proven research quality, which is currently composed of more than 80 staff employed. In addition, the group is composed of specialists in different disciplines, such as Solid Mechanics and Structures, Fluid Mechanics, Materials and Nanotechnology, Thermal Engineering, Chemical Process Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Biotechnology. They work together, however, in providing holistic multidisciplinary projects and great scientific in-depth vision. AR also draws on a strategic and ongoing collaboration with a number of international reference research groups -- public, private or mixed -- while giving priority to the Andalusian groups. This allows AR to have a powerful group of PhD students pegged at 40 in steady state, the first call for 15 doctoral theses is already running. This embodies a science and technology forum not only able to offer solutions for the future, but also a training of professionals in R & D for Abengoa, preferably, but also for the industry in general. As for activities, Abengoa Research has currently a portfolio of 24 strategic projects. 

URL:  www.abengoa.com/web/en/innovacion/abengoa_research/

Participating personnel:

Prof. Juán Luis Ramos, Dr. Elena Puerta, María Hidalgo


Partner 16. UVA (Universiteit van Amsterdam; entered on month 27 to the consortium)
 
               

The UVA (University of Amsterdam) is a major higher education institution in Amsterdam and a core member of the League of EU Research Universities. In the life sciences it partners up with the VU University in Amsterdam. UVA has an outstanding international reputation for life and systems biology science and a longstanding experience in EU-funded projects. The research group of Westerhoff is part of the Cell & Systems Biology Cluster headed by Hans Westerhoff in the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS), Faculty of Science.

URL:  www.uva.nl

Participating personnel:                

Prof. Hans V. Westerhoff, Dr. Thierry Mondeel

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