Cellulose nanomaterials

The cellulose nanomaterials will form the basis of the matrix materials to which the living cells will be embedded. Several different modifications will allow selective gas and nutrient transport to and from cells and product transport out from the matrix. The different sizes of the nanocellulose particles and hierarchical architectures of the materials will allow control over light passage throughout the materials ensuring efficient light utilization by the photosynthetic cells. Passive and active entrapment of living cells to the matrix will lead to control over metabolism to target the energy utilization towards product formation and inhibition of biomass accumulation. The nanocelluloses’ ability to interact with and bind water is one of the materials’ key features for cell viability even if the material is dried allowing easy transport of the SSCF platform.

Photosynthetic cells and
Photosynthetic cell factories

Photosynthetic microorganisms, such as algae and cyanobacteria, have a great potential to satisfy global demands for food, chemicals and renewable fuels, and thus could reduce world’s demands on fossil fuels. This potential appears due to the ability of photosynthetic microbes to convert solar energy and CO2 into valuable products such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and some pharmaceuticals.

The group in University of Turku is an expert on photosynthetic microbes. We are engineering cells, applying advanced immobilization techniques and studying photosynthetic activity and cell metabolism with the state of the art techniques e.g. MIMS, DUAL-PAM, proteomics. The aim is to increase the ‘light-to-product’ conversion efficiency.

The Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in TU Graz is an expert in the cultivation of photo-autotrophic organisms particularly cyanobacteria and their utilization in various chemical reactions. Recombinant Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 strains harboring ene-reductases as well as Baeyer-Villiger Oxidases are cultivated in flasks and grown at 30 ºC in a growth chamber as well as in an aquarium type for larger volumes . For large volume (e.g. >200 mL) whole-cell biotransformations, reactions are performed using a Column Bubble Reactor equipped with Wireless Light Emitters (WLE‘s) to alleviate the `self-shading´ phenomenon when performing reactions using optically dense cultures. Cyanobacteria immobilisation is also done by entrapping them in alginate beads or films .

CyanoBioTech GmbH has comprehensive expertise in the fields of discovery, development & industrial production of cyanobacteria-based products. (Image on technology) Their core competences are unique strain and compound collection, patent-protected assets and methods, from natural-product-based drug discovery and development to industrial production. As a pioneer and global leader in applied R&D on cyanobacteria, CyanoBioTech can offer novel drug leads, based on superior natural products for direct or Antibody-Drug Conjugate -based utilization in anti-cancer drug development and Modern lab and production infrastructure: state-of-the-art equipment for drug development, cultivation, downstream processing, analytics.

Production of cyanobacteria-based products © CyanoBioTech GmbH

Molecularly imprinted polymers

Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are biomimetic synthetic receptors which are capable of binding target molecules with an affinity and specificity similar to  antibodies. Molecular imprinting is based on the copolymerization of interacting and crosslinking monomers in the presence of the target molecule (‘antigen’) or a derivative thereof. In that way, specific cavities are formed in the cross-linked three-dimensional polymer network with a size, shape and chemical functionality complementary to those of the target. The resulting MIP can bind the target molecule with a high selectivity even in very complex mixtures. These ‘plastic antibodies’  have considerable advantages over their biological counterparts, as they are more cost-effective, need no animals for their production, possess greater chemical, biochemical, and physical stabilities, and are more easily engineered and integrated into standard industrial processes.

© Karsten Haupt, Synthesis of MIPs

FuturoLEAF solid-state
cells factory

Taking advantage and putting together all the know-how and expertise of the FuturoLEAF -project partners we aim for a technology that utilizes light and CO2 to make chemicals in an economically feasible, sustainable and green manner. The FuturoLEAF SSCF is a game changer for the utilization of photosynthetic cells as production hosts allowing the efficient usage of light and continuous production platform when going towards a more sustainable and fossil-independent free future.