Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Crustacean shells as a raw material for chemicals

20.01.2012
In the ChiBio project, which is funded by the EU, the Straubing Project Group BioCat of the Fraunhofer IGB together with international partners is aiming to develop new methods of producing specialty and fine chemicals from chitin-rich fishing-industry waste.
Shellfish, crabs and shrimps are highly valued culinary delicacies. Every year more than 750,000 tonnes of shells of these crustaceans land on the waste in the EU alone. Theoretically the shells could also be valorized. They contain chitin, a biopolymer also occurring in insects and fungi, that consists of nitrogenous sugar molecules strung together in a polymer chain. In Asia, for example, the polymer chitosan is already produced from shrimp shells. This is used to make filters or foils, and also wound dressings. However, the shells of the European crustaceans contain more lime, so processing them to obtain chitosan is not economical.

In the EU-funded ChiBio Project researchers led by the Straubing Project Group BioCat of the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB want to develop new methods of utilizing the shells that result in large quantities of waste, in order to use them here in Europe as a raw material for chemicals and new materials. The consortium comprising research and industrial partners from Norway, Austria, the Czech Republic, Ireland as well as Tunisia and Indonesia is focusing on an integrated approach. “In the manner of a biorefinery we want to develop or optimize various material and energetic uses for the waste material “crustacean shells”– and thus to utilize the residual material as efficiently and completely as possible,” explains Professor Volker Sieber, Coordinator of ChiBio and head of the BioCat Project Group in Straubing.

First of all the remaining crab meat has to be removed from the shells. “We want to separate these biomass residues, which consist of proteins and fats, in such a way that we are able to ferment them directly and use them for energetic purposes,” says Dr. Lars Wiemann, ChiBio project manager in Straubing. The purified chitin can then be split into its monomeric components, the nitrogenous sugar glucosamine, using enzymes or microorganisms. At the Fraunhofer IGB chitinases have already been isolated from bacteria that catalyze this splitting process. “It will be a great challenge to convert glucosamine into such basic components – or platform chemicals, from which chemists can produce various new, bio-based polymers,” says Dr. Wiemann. So that individual monomers can be linked to form a polymer, these require at least two functional groups that can be combined catalytically. “Here we aim to combine chemical steps with biotechnological processes,” adds Professor Sieber. The intention is to ferment all the bio-based by-products generated in the process chain together with the initially separated proteins and fats to produce biogas as a regenerative energy carrier.

The EU Research Proposal “ChiBio – Development of an Integrated Biorefinery for Processing Chitin-rich Biowaste to Specialty and Fine Chemicals” was awarded 14 out of 15 possible points – the best result in the topic “Novel Biotechnological Approaches for Transforming Industrial and/or Municipal Biowaste into Bioproducts – SICA”. The funds of 3 million euros are being made available from November 2011 for the three-year duration of the project. Regional partners are Professor Thomas Brück’s “Industrial Biocatalysis” Working Group at the TU München in Garching and Süd-Chemie AG in Moosburg from Bavaria, both Germany, as well as the Czech company Apronex and the Upper Austrian Energy Institute at the Johannes Kepler Universität Linz GmbH. Further participants are Letterkenny Institute of Technology (Letterkenny, Ireland), the Agricultural University of Norway (Oslo, Norway), Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer (Karthago, Tunisia), Earagail Eisc Teoranta (Carrick, Ireland), Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany) and Biotech Surindo PT (Cirebon, Indonesia).

The Project Group BioCat is part of the Straubing Center of Science at the Center of Excellence for Renewable Resources and attached to the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart, which is directed by Professor Thomas Hirth. The Project Group is led by Professor Volker Sieber, who holds the Chair for the Chemistry of Biogenic Resources at the TU München.

The research project ChiBio receives funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant Agreement no 289284.

Contact:
Fraunhofer IGB
Project Group BioCat
Schulgasse 16
94315 Straubing,Germany
Dr. Lars Wiemann
Phone +49 9421 187-353
lars.wiemann@igb.fraunhofer.de

Dr. Claudia Vorbeck | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.igb.fraunhofer.de/en/press-media/press-releases/chibio.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>