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HiSolids: the production of synthons from lignocellulose by microbial consortia

Towards a dry biorefining process for the development of bioplastics and chemical products with high added value.

EPI  de maïs.. © INRA, WEBER Jean
Updated on 02/20/2015
Published on 11/04/2014

Lignocellulose is an assembly of polysaccharides and lignins present in the cell walls of vascular terrestrial plants, and represents a promising source of renewable carbon.  In the same way as refineries fractionate crude oil into components with high added value for specific purposes, the biorefining of lignocellulose should enable fractionation of this resource into products for specific uses (fuels, materials, synthons for chemistry) while limiting greenhouse gas emissions.  Biorefining is based on the disassembly of polymers into fractions of interest, which usually involves pretreatments and the use of enzymes.  The principal obstacles encountered regarding the biorefining of lignocellulose are the high costs induced by pretreatments and the use of large quantities of enzymes.


In this context, the Hi-Solids project proposes the adoption of an integrated approach to developing a dry biorefining process, by combining the advanced pretreatment of lignocellulose by reactive extrusion and the action of microbial consortia in order to produce carboxylates, which are the platform molecules for the development of high added value products such as bioplastics or chemicals.


The Hi-Solids project includes:

  • the development of reactive extrusion pretreatment processes that couple extrusion with the action of enzymes specifically targeting the hemicellulose and lignin fractions of grass lignocellulose, in order to weaken the biomass structure and facilitate its bioconversion by microbial consortia;
  • exploitation of the diversity and genetic potential of microbial consortia in the degradation of lignocellulose and the production of carboxylates;
  • study of the impacts of dry matter content and mass transfers on microbial activity and carboxylate production.


This project is being managed by the Joint Research Unit for the Engineering of Biological  Systems and Processes (UMR-LISBP).  The Joint Research Unit for Agropolymer Engineering and Emerging Technologies (UMR-IATE) in Montpellier, the Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology (LBE) in Narbonne, and the Research Unit on Biopolymers - Interactions and Assemblies (BIA) in Nantes are also partners in the project.


The Research Unit on Biopolymers - Interactions and Assemblies (BIA) is involved in evaluating the impact of pretreatments on the composition and physicochemical properties of lignocellulose biomass.

Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Science for Food and Bioproduct Engineering
Associated Centre(s):
Pays de la Loire