International Sugar Journal

EU funds €23 million for a new plant to produce biobased solvent from lignocellulosic feedstocks [Full subscriber]

The Melbourne-based biotech start-up Circa Group is taking the lead in the European flagship project to produce biobased the platform chemical levoglucosenone (LGO) through its proprietary Furacel technology.

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Kraft lignin chemically modified for use in carbon fibre composite [Full subscriber]

Researchers at Kanazawa University have chemically modified Kraft lignin — ordinarily produced in pulp mills is destined for low-added value applications — and used it in the production of quality carbon fibre composite. Once the process is optimised, it will invite significant application interest from not only aerospace, defence and automotive industries due to the combination of its lightweight nature (providing a solution to reducing the weight of vehicles et al), its versatility and strength.

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Brazil – Solvay opens second biobased solvent plant [Registered]

Solvay has opened a second plant in Brazil for its Augeo line of biobased solvents, more than tripling production capacity 6000 to 20,000 tonnes per year.

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Speeding up metabolic engineering with machine learning [Full subscriber]

Synthetic biology allows us to bioengineer cells to synthesize novel valuable molecules such as renewable biofuels or anticancer drugs. However, traditional synthetic biology approaches involve ad-hoc engineering practices, which lead to long development times. Now, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created a new tool that adapts machine learning algorithms to the needs of synthetic biology, dramatically reducing the time spent engineering drugs and chemicals.

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Ionic liquid intermediate produced from lignin [Full subscriber]

Researchers at US Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab have transformed lignin into a precursor for a useful chemical with a wide range of potential applications.

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Germany – Construction of the new €550 million UPM’s biorefinery has commenced [Full subscriber]

The Finnish pulp and paper producer UPM commenced the construction of the state-of-the-art biochemicals facility in Leuna, Germany on 7th October.

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Bioengineering plants to turn them into biofactories for new molecules [Full subscriber]

Plants can produce a wide range of molecules, many of which help them fight off harmful pests and pathogens. Biologists have harnessed this ability to produce many molecules important for human health — aspirin and the antimalarial drug artemisinin, for example, are derived from plants. Now, researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and Stanford University have designed and engineered new synthetic metabolic pathways to create new-to-nature biopesticides with novel anti-fungal activity.

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Bagasse-based compostable and durable packaging containers [Full subscriber]

The Israeli start-up W-Cycle has developed SupraPulp, plastic-free packaging made of sugarcane bagasse that is compostable, safe, and containers.

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Polish start-up converts beet pulp into biodegradable packaging containers [Full subscriber]

The start-up Waste Lab, Poland has been successful in converting beet pulp into tableware, packaging, and other products.

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Yeast metabolically engineered to produce the medicinal tropane alkaloids [Full subscriber]

Researchers at Stanford University report the first successful microbial biosynthesis of the tropane alkaloids hyoscyamine and scopolamine, a class of neuromuscular blockers naturally found in plants in the nightshade family.

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