A lack of microorganisms that will efficiently convert biomass to desired products is a major constraint in current production processes. Butalco’s technology improves the yield and cost position of existing producers using corn, wheat or sugar cane.
An attractive feedstock available in large amounts is lignocellulosic biomass, such as herbaceous and woody plants, agricultural and forestry residues, and a large portion of municipal solid waste and industrial waste streams. Lignocellulosic biomass consists of hexoses (C6 sugars) and pentoses (C5 sugars). Besides glucose, the pentose sugars D-xylose and L-arabinose are the most abundant hemicellulosic sugars and can make up to 30% of the lignocellulosic biomass. Because the feedstock represents a significant portion of all process costs, an economical fermentation process will require rapid and efficient conversion of all sugars present.
A lack of microorganisms that will efficiently convert hexoses and pentoses to biofuels and biochemicals is a major constraint to the economical conversion of biomass. Most industrial fermentations use the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as it exhibits fast sugar consumption, high yields and ethanol. However, it is unable to ferment the pentose sugars, and to use these sugars for growth.
Approach of BUTALCO
We have developed new innovative C5-technologies for the construction of industrial yeast strains able to efficiently ferment both pentose sugars. Our C5-technology can be introduced into various industrial yeast strains and can significantly improve the yield and cost position of existing bioethanol producers or other biochemical producers using corn, wheat or sugar cane as raw material.
We are currently optimising our C5-technology to further improve the process to use C5 sugars for fermentations. Several patent applications have been filed and the aim is to license this technology.