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 If Machines Could Smell ...
19.07.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Algae-killing viruses spur nutrient recycling in oceans
18.07.2019 | Rutgers University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Heat flow through single molecules detected

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Heat transport through single molecules

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Welcome Committee for Comets

19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>