Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Grant recipient:
Professor Anne S. Meyer, Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Project title:
SUgar Beet REvolution: Enzymatic Biorefining of Sugar Beet Pulp to Nutraceuticals and Recyclable Materials (SURE)

Professor Peter Ulvskov, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen

Senior Scientist, Head of Laboratory, Gustav Nystöm, Department of Functional Materials, EMPA, Switzerland

Professor Susanne Brix Pedersen, Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, DTU

Brief description:
Sugar beet is one of the highest yielding crops in the Northern Hemisphere, with 2.5 million tons/year produced in Denmark alone. It is grown to produce sugar, but the fibrous pulp is rich in functional cellulose fibers and unique bioactive polysaccharides. Now, our vision is to convert sugar beet into a biorefinery crop and a leading example of how to shift from one product to sustainable production of several beneficial products via side-stream bioprocessing. We propose to meet this challenge by an interdisciplinary research effort providing the scientific foundation for achieving entirely biotechnology based fiber disassembly and optimal product functionalities. We will employ microbial expansins to loosen structural cell wall assemblies, explore enzymatic separation of bioactive pectin elements and cellulose microfibrils, optimize enzymatic lignin removal and focus on cleaving lignin-hemicellulose linkages, assess anti-inflammatory bioactivity mechanisms of particular pectin polysaccharides, and aim to understand how assembly, disassembly, and reassembly of biocomposites work.

Anne S. Meyer is receiving DKK 57,051,850 for the project.