Sustainable ectoine production through methanotrophs and algae: from biogas to high-value product (EctoMet)

01 January 2023 → 31 December 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Microbiomes
  • Engineering and technology
    • Environmental microorganism biotechnology
ectoine biogas Waste stream valorisation
Project description


A holistic approach to resources recovery from organic waste is critical for a successful bio

-based circular economy in which anaerobic digestion for biogas production plays a central role. Currently, biogas is used for electricity production or upgraded to biomethane. In this project, we will consider a novel value chain for biogas towards the production of the high-value bio-based chemical of ectoine, using a consortium of methanotrophic bacteria and microalgae or methalgae. First, a dual strategy of co-enrichment (top-down) and co-culturing of selected microalgae and methanotrophic strains (bottom-up) will maximize the potential to establish an effective ectoine-producing methalgae partnership. Next, the methalgae consortia that achieve the highest ectoine productivity and yield will be used for semi-continuous ectoine production and the creation of novel 3-dimensional granular methalgae entities for effective ectoine harvesting. Ectoine harvesting from the methalgae biomass will be carried out based on the microbial milking concept. Finally, an economic and environmental impact assessment of the novel ectoine production pathway will be performed. To complete the overall objective, an interdisciplinary consortium with experts in microbiology, reactor technology, product separation and sustainability assessments is formed.