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A circular bioeconomy for LIGNIN: the MEAT-from-WOOD project

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The MEAT-from-WOOD project

Converting waste materials into high-value-added products such as amino acids is the goal of the "MEAT-from-WOOD" project, funded by the Ministry of University and Research under the Prin 2022 call. The team, led by Professor Marco Vanoni from the University of Milano-Bicocca, includes a research unit coordinated by Elena Rosini at the Protein Factory 2.0 laboratory of the University of Insubria, directed by Professor Loredano Pollegioni. 

The research is based on the sustainable use of two renewable biomasses: lignin, which is underutilized in the paper industry and regularly burned, and wheat bran. To efficiently utilize these heterogeneous biomasses, their depolymerization and subsequent conversion into selected compounds are necessary.

"MEAT-from-WOOD" aims to develop an innovative biotechnological process for the sustainable (enzymatic) conversion of vanillin derived from lignin or wheat bran into amino acids (the basic components of proteins), attractive and promising biochemical substances with a continuously growing market.

The project intends to produce bacterial cells expressing all the enzymatic activities required for amino acid synthesis, thus providing a new sustainable approach to the valorization of these biomasses. Indeed, the availability of a series of enzymatic activities organized into new metabolic pathways, designed ad hoc for the synthesis of specific molecules, will accelerate the development of further innovative synthetic biocatalytic processes starting from abundant renewable resources towards a sustainable bioeconomy.

The MEAT-from-WOOD team

From the left: Chiara Damiani, Loredano Pollegioni, Marco Vanoni, Elena Rosini, Luca Brambilla, and Alex Pessina

Responsible at The Protein Factory 2.0: Elena Rosini

 

Fundings: PRIN 2022 

 

Collaborations: University of Milano-Bicocca

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