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IS-DAAD-Forskerutveksl. Norge-Tyskland

Developing co-production of lipids and chitosan in oleaginous filamentous fungi

Tildelt: kr 0,10 mill.




2020 - 2024




The impending transition from a petrol-based to a sustainable bio-based economy requires the valorisation of a variety of renewable biological resources. Due to its compositional variety, lignocellulosic biomass is a promising renewable feedstock for the production of different chemicals. The production of fungal lipids from lignocellulose sugars has attracted a lot of attention during the last five years. Fungal lipids are produced by oleaginous fungi, which under nutrient-limited conditions, are able to accumulate up to 80% of lipids per dry biomass. Fungal lipids consist mainly of triacylglycerols (TAGs). Fatty acid profiles of fungal TAGs are very similar to essential fatty acids in plant oils or they can be similar to highly valuable fish oil. Fungal lipids are a promising feedstock of high-value lipids for food, feed and chemical industry as well as low-value lipids for biodiesel industry. The process of microbial lipid production is still not competitive with the agricultural production of vegetable oils, which has a significantly lower market price. Our hypothesis is that the production of microbial lipids from lignocellulose sugars can become economically feasible if a process allowing the co-production of chitin and chitosan can be established. Utilizing oleaginous Zygomycetes fungi for the lipid production from lignocellulose sugars gives an opportunity for the co-production of important biopolymers such as chitosan in addition to lipids. The research hypothesis jointly developed by the NMBU and WWU team is that oleaginous Zygomycetes fungi grown on sugar-rich lignocellulose hydrolysates are, under certain nutrient conditions, able to co-produce high-value lipids and chitosans. Thus, by establishing cooperation between NMBU and WWU, it would be possible to develop a co-production concept for the concomitant production of lipids and chitosans in oleaginous Zygomycetes fungi grown on waste feedstocks sourced from forestry.

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IS-DAAD-Forskerutveksl. Norge-Tyskland