MyCOS - Synthetic biology for a sustainable conversion of fungal chitin-rich waste streams into valuable biobased chitooligosaccharides for plant health

01 January 2022 → 31 December 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Synthetic biology
  • Engineering and technology
    • Biocatalysis and enzyme technology
    • Industrial microbiology
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Biotechnology for agricultural, forestry, fisheries and allied sciences not elsewhere classified
Industrial biotechnology waste stream valorization biostimulants
Project description

Today, synthetic biology (SynBio) matured to unlock a thriving bioeconomy. It allows the development of elite microbes combining superior performance (product quality & quantity) with feasibility of industrial handling. Also, microbes can be utilized to convert waste streams into energy or high-valued molecules offering novel opportunities for problems not resolvable hitherto. One of these problems is the lack of sustainable and cost-effective production of chitooligosaccharides (COS). These COS are truly fascinating molecules which play a vital role in human, plant, and animal health resulting in a plethora of potential applications. Despite their enormous application potential, current chitin-based production technologies function as a black box: final product varies from batch-to-batch yielding COS-mixtures for which results may fluctuate without knowing why and how to improve this. Here, we will focus on agriculture and more specifically on the COS-potential to offer a cleaner and healthier alternative to current plant fertilizer techniques to improve soybean protein content. In-house developed SynBio tools will be used to create an original and innovative value chain for the valorization of fungal chitin-rich waste streams to pure COS products. During the project, valorization opportunities will be maximized by aligning the development of sustainable biostimulants for soybean with cost-efficient precision fermentation strategies and user-inspired product needs. To successfully obtain these aims, an interdisciplinary consortium with experts in SynBio & industrial biotechnology, plant & systems biology, microbial & plant genetics, and research & advice for agriand horticulture is formed