Sustainable production of chemical building blocks and other added value products from plant biomass is required for a bio-based economy. However, the biomass biorefineries should benefit not only from the use of renewable feedstocks but also from greener and more efficient bio-chemical technologies. Previous projects have shown the potential of oxidative enzymes in the production of some added value compounds from biomass components. Of special interest are still unexplored oxidation/oxyfunctionalization reactions (of sugar and lipid compounds) by microbial oxidoreductases, including new (self-sufficient) heme-thiolate peroxygenases. In this context, EnzOx2 plans to develop a 100% biochemical conversion of bio-based 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) into diformylfuran, a platform chemical, and 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), a plastic building-block. Oxidases (flavo and copper/radical) and peroxygenases will be used to perform the three-step oxidation of HMF to FDCA in a co-substrate and side-product free, one-pot conversion. On the other hand, highly (regio/stereo) selective hydroxylation of plant lipids (such as fatty acids, terpenes and steroids) by peroxygenases will be optimized for cost-effective production of flavours and fragrances (F&F), active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and others. ENZOX2 aims to solve some main bottlenecks in these industrial processes by the use of bio-chemical tools (new/engineered enzymes and optimized biotransformations), to be later validated at the pilot/flagship scale. To attain this objective the consortium includes: i) two world leaders in industrial enzymes (Novozymes) and F&F (Firmenich); ii) two chemical SMEs producing HMF and chiral APIs (AVA-Biochem and Chiracon); iii) two specialized biotechnology SMEs (JenaBios and CLEA); iv) one technology centre in the Plastics sector (AIMPLAS); and v) three CSIC institutes and two universities (Dresden and Delft) with expertise in enzyme reactions and bioprocess implementation.

More information and updates on project activities are available on EnzOx2 website and social media channels:

Website: https://enzox2.eu/

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720297.