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  European Commission   > Research > Key Action 5
index by sub-area 5.2. The integrated production and exploitation of biological materials for non-food uses
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1,3-Propanediol - a versatile bulk chemical from renewable resources by novel biocatalysts and process strategies

Contract nr: QLK5-CT-1999-01364
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date: 01-02-2000
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: 1,372,134 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,171,169 EUR
Scientific Officer: Ciaran MANGAN
Research topic: 5.2. The integrated production and exploitation of biological materials for non-food uses

Recent developments in the use of 1,3-propanedidol (PD) as a monomer for novel polyesters and biodegradable plastics lead to a strong market need for economical and sustainable production of this emerging bulk chemical, preferably by a biological route. PD can only be produced naturally by micro-organisms from glycerol. The present production volume and price of glycerol is prohibitive for the biological route to compete with the chemical route. The objective of this proposal is thus to extend the substrate spectrum of microbial PD to cheaper and more abundant renewable resources (glucose, starch and sucrose). This will be achieved by designing new biological pathways and biocatalysts with genetic tools and by developing novel process configurations. The process developed will be demonstrated on pilot-plan scale. It will open new ways for the flexible utilisation of renewable resources for non-food value-added products.

The objectives of this proposal are two-fold:
1. to develop new biological pathways and biocatalysts with molecular biological tools and novel bioprocess control strategies for an economical production of a versatile bulk chemical 1,3-propanediol (e.g. used as a monomer for the production of a recently commercialised large-volume new polyester polytrimethylene terephthalate and biodegradable plastics);
2. to provide a flexible and sustainable way for the use of cheap and abundant renewable resources such as glucose, starch and sucrose for value-added, non-food products. The economical and technical feasibility of the developed process will be analysed and the preferred approach will be demonstrated on a semi-industrial scale.

An-Ping ZENG
GBF Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung mbH
Tel.: +49 531 6181188
Fax: +49 531 6181751

  Philippe SOUCAILLE
INSA Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Toulouse
Tel.: +33 5 61559452
Fax: +33 5 61559400
  Patrick TAILLADE
G.I.E. Lesaffre Developpement
Tel.: +33 3 20816100
Fax: +33 3 20206423
Universidade Católica Portuguesa - Escola Superior de Biotecnologia
Tel.: +351 25580049
Fax: +351 25090351