Polysaccharides projects in Europe
Project at SEPPIC
EnXylaScope – Mining Microbes and Developing Advanced Production Platforms for Novel Enzymes To Rapidly Unleash Xylans’ Potential In a Scope Of Products For the Consumer Market
grant number: 101000831
funding agency: REA
start date: 1 May 2021
end date: 30 April 2025
Xylan is an important structural component of plant cells. The EU-funded EnXylaScope project will find and optimise novel enzymes for producing a debranched (water-insoluble) form of xylan with properties that make it a suitable ingredient for consumer products. In total, three types of enzymatically modified xylan will be made and tested for application in six consumer products that span three sectors: cosmetics, personal care and nutraceuticals. Researchers will use advanced techniques for the discovery, production and formulation of these enzymes. EnXylaScope is designed to maximise research output and reduce the time frame required to launch these products onto the marketplace. www.enxylascope.e
Projects at University of Nottingham
Biophysical defence in the mammalian gut: Unlocking the molecular mechanisms of dietary fibre interaction with mucin glycoproteins.
grant number: BB/T006404/1
funding agency: BBSRC
start date: 01 Oct 2020
end date: 30 Sep 2023
Mucus plays pivotal role in gut health, including its role in maintaining healthy microbiota. Despite the importance of mucus biofluids to human health and well-being, there is a limited knowledge about how dietary fibre interact with mucus. The emerging evidence suggests that fibre-rich diet can support mucus integrity and boost its barrier function.
This project considers the effect of dietary fibre on biophysical properties of mucus, such as rheology (flow, viscoelasticity), hydration, lubrication and permeability. The key scientific question is to uncover the interaction mechanisms between dietary fibre polymers / fibre assemblies (e.g., plant cell walls) and mucus. Common dietary fibre with proven health benefits (e.g., oat b-glucan) display no mucoadhesive properties when tested using instrumental techniques commonly employed in drug delivery research. The emerging hypothesis is that interactions are mediated by the bound water and are physical in nature amplified by polymer entanglement.
By bringing key capabilities in analytical centrifugation, rheology, micromechanical testing and advanced microscopy, the project aims to tackle this fundamental problem by addressing three specific research questions: (a) uncover the role of DF molecular architecture on hydration, viscoelasticity, and responsiveness of mucus/dietary fibre complexes; (b) by controlling the molecular architecture of fibre polymers, unlock the potential of fibre to control mucus rheological properties; and (c) design dietary fibre composites to tune and modulate mucus barrier functionality.
Methodologically, the project focuses on three groups of fibre materials: (a) soluble fibre polymers, (b) model dietary fibre assemblies (soluble/insoluble fibre composite), as well as (c) natural dietary fibre from wheat endosperm cell walls. The research platform enables delivering impact in the areas of food structure design, dietary recommendation policy, and biomedical areas.
Sustainable Future Foods: Mechano-Enzymatic Assembly of Complex Food Structures
grant number: BB/T008369/1 – 2604202
funding agency: BBSRC
start date: 01 Oct 2021
end date: 30 Sep 2025
Soft Matter Biomaterials and Biointerfaces Team in collaboration with Diamond Light Source, Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre and Motif FoodWorks, a Massachusetts-based animal-free ingredient innovation company, are looking forward to train an early stage researcher to PhD level as part of a highly prestigious BBSRC DTP CASE PhD Studentship Programme. Designing sustainable foods requires novel plant-based ingredients that enable creating new textures, whilst unlocking product’s functionality in the body. This calls for discovery and development of new fibre materials with highly ordered structures that mimic some of nature’s most wondrous fibres such as silk, collagen and myofibrils.
This project seeks to discover and develop new methods for controlling enzymatic cross-linking during extensional flow and characterise ordered structures using small angle scattering and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, as well as diving into understanding fibre’s mechanical and functional properties, focusing on applications in foods. The successful candidate will: 1) Research cross-linking reaction between proteins and polysaccharides (dietary fibre) and evaluate the impact of crosslinking on the rheological (flow) and mechanical properties of fibre. 2) Develop a new extensional flow sample environment system at the I22 Small Angle Scattering and Diffraction Beamline, Diamond Light Source, thus enabling measurements of biopolymer structuring during fluid elongation and formation of a fibre filament. 3) Characterise polymer and water dynamics using NMR spin relaxation and multi-scale imaging techniques at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre. 4) During a research experience placement at the lab facilities of Motif FoodWorks (Boston, MA, USA), research on enzyme functionality and synthetic biology-based approaches for identifying new targets for strain engineering and designing enzymes with targeted activity and specificity will be undertaken. The primary host of this Studentship is the Soft Matter Biomaterials and Biointerfaces (SMBB) Team at the University of Nottingham, School of Biosciences. SMBB is a highly dynamic, interdisciplinary team focusing on biomolecular composites, which underpin development of sustainable and healthy foods.
The successful candidate will be encouraged to participate in the activities of the British Society of Rheology, Institute of Physics Food Physics Group and European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence (EPNOE). Previous experience in (bio)polymers, soft matter systems or colloids is highly appropriate. Experience of bimolecular characterisation and some level of COMSOL/MATLAB/Python skills are highly beneficial. The successful candidate will have a positive approach to collaborative research and the drive to make a significant contribution to innovation and sustainable food systems.
Australia Partnering Award: Delving down-under using advanced plant phenotyping to uncover how roots grown in hard soils
grant number: BB/V018124/1
funding agency: BBSRC
start date: 01 Aug 2021
end date: 31 Jul 2025
The overarching aim of this project is to share UK-Australian expertise in plant phenotyping with the goal to improve compaction tolerance and global food security (supporting Bioscience for Sustainable Agriculture and Food from the BBSRC Delivery Plan and the BBSRC Agriculture and Food Security Strategic Priority Area and the priority areas of Food, Soil and Water of the Australia Research Council.
EPSRC and SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemistry: Atoms-2-Products an Integrated Approach to Sustainable Chemistry
grant number: EP/S022236/1
funding agency: EPSRC
start date: 01 Oct 2019
end date: 31 Mar 2028
Advanced economies are now confronted with a serious challenge that requires us to approach problem solving in a completely different way. As our global population continues to rise we must all consider several quite taxing philosophical questions, most pressingly we must address our addiction to economic growth, our expectation for longer, healthier lives and our insatiable need to collect more stuff! Societies demand for performance molecules, ranging from pharmaceuticals to fragrances or adhesives to lubricants, is growing year-on-year and the advent of competition in a globalised market place is generally forcing the market price downward, cutting margins and reducing the ability for some industry sectors to innovate. Atoms to Products (A2P) is an exciting opportunity to forge a new philosophy that could underpin the next phase of sustainable growth for the chemicals manufacturing industry in the UK and further afield. An overarching driving force in the development of A2P was the desire to apply the knowledge and learning of Green and Sustainable Chemistry to the creative phases embedded in the discovery and development of performance molecules that deliver function in applications as diverse as pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and food.
Visualisation and motion analysis of in mouth processes and oral behaviours associated with wearing dentures
grant number: BB/V509553/1 – 2453626
funding agency: BBSRC
start date:01 Oct 2020
end date: 30 Sep 2024
This Project focusses on combining new advances in motion capture, computer-based analysis (including the use of novel deep learning algorithms) and Oral Processing analysis, to provide fundamental and genuinely new underpinning insights into facial motions during use of dental devices, denture adhesives and dental patches.
Projects at University of Girona
Project at IMT Mines Alès, France
Projects at University of Jena, Germany
FunPolyGel – Preparation of Functional Polysaccharide Gels using Selective Synthesis Methods
Hydrogels will be obtained by selective crosslinking of reactive polysaccharide derivatives in water. They will be employed for specific applications or converted into aerogels using suitable drying techniques. The modular synthesis concept provides many possibilities to tune the material properties. Comprehensive structure property relationships will be established as basis for a rational material design. Thus, hydrogels and aerogels can be tailored for specific applications in biomedicine, environmental technologies, and agriculture. Fundamental aspects such as loading / release of active substances, selective absorption of pollutants, storage of water / nutrients, and biological properties (biocompatibility, biodegradability) will be studied.
University of Jena, Germany – Collaborative research Center 1278 – Multifunctional nanoparticles based on polysaccharides for targeted drug delivery with two-step release behavior
Projects at Petru Poni
Sergiu Coseri-project director: Highly sensitive immunoassay device, based on natural resources; Acronym: HISENSE
Sergiu Coseri-project director: Expanding cellulose’s boundaries towards the fabrication of superior proton conductive membranes for fuel cells); Acronym: EXCELLFUEL
Project at VTT
Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Solutions for Natural Resources and Environment
Developing new market-ready products and goods, from bio-based materials, by feedstock conversion. Nano-enabling will make these materials reach and exceed performances of current fossil-based materials. All materials at TRL7 will be environment-friendly according to circular economy principles.
Support the digital transition by providing companies with all data and life cycle value chain modelling tools, compatible with an industrial production move to TRL9, from feedstock conversion to material processing. This is key in maximising the use of feedstock materials in the circular economy.
More info click here
Project at the Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development from the Algarve University (MED-UAlg), Portugal
REviving agroFLOrestal RESidues: from intermolecular interactions in natural Polyphenols to new biomaterials of added value.
Project at Łukasiewicz Research Network aculty of Science and Technology, Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa, Poland
UNLOCK / Unlocking a new feather bioeconomy for keratin-based agricultural products.
(BBI 2020 SO1 D1/ Resolve supply-chain hurdles for turning residual waste streams into functional molecules for food and/or non-food market applications)
Project at Abo Akademi University
Novel Fiber Surfaces Functionalized by Lignins Refined and Engineered from Finnish Biorefinery Processes (LigninReSurf)
Project at IMT Mines Alès
Agrobranche : Valorization of wood branches from agroforestry in the bio-based materials and chemistry sectors
- Qualify the industrial potential of valorization of agroforestry chips in the field of materials and chemistry,
- Identify “good quality” agroforestry chips to be produced from the available resource,
- Define upstream the production routes of these chips and downstream the dedicated technological routes for the extraction of the fibers and molecules targeted,
- Validate the results by testing the implementation of materials / extracted molecules at the laboratory and / or pilot scale.
New Project at CEMEF/Mines ParisTech, Sophie Antipolis
3D printing of hyaluronic acid aerogels as on-demand removable wound dressings (3D-AER-HYAL)
Project at Institute of Wood Science – Hamburg University
HolzMat3d: Wood-based high-performance materials for 3D printing and thermoplastic production
Principal Investigator: Dr. Julien R.G. Navarro
Faculty of Science and Technology, Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa, Poland
Development and implementation of an innovative technology for the production new generation fruit and vegetable products enriched with dietary fibre preparation from potato starch with prebiotic properties for children and youth (2020-2023)
PI: Janusz Kapusniak
Funding agency: Polish National Center for Research and Development (NCBR).
The PreSTFibre4kids project is coordinated by Jan Dlugosz University in cooperation with the most modern specialist pediatric hospital in Poland, the biggest comprehensive cancer center in Poland, one of the leading juice, nectar and soft drink producer in Poland and one scientific partner. The main goal of the project is to conduct development works, which will result in the development and implementation of the technology of production of unsweetened vegetable and fruit products enriched with a fibre preparation from potato starch with prebiotic properties and acceptable organoleptic and appropriate storage stability by children and adolescents.
More info click here
University of Innsbruck, Research Institute of Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics
Biotechnological Enzymatic Modification of Lignocellulosic Natural Fibres, 2020-2023
PI: Tung Pham
Funding agency: FFG, Austria
The overall objective of the project proposal is to develop a biotechnological enzyme-based modification process for natural lignocellulose stem fibres. Thus, the proposal represents the development of an eco-friendly modification method for European bio-based natural lignocellulosic fibres. The technology will significantly contribute to debottleneck the issue with the fibre softness and processability of stem fibre.
More info click here
Oxidative Modification of Cellulose
PI Potthast, A.
The aim of the planned work is to achieve lean, cost-efficient and green chemical routes to improve the properties of kraft pulp for thermoplastic materials. The cellulose chain is intrinsically rigid, which is one of the causes of its high glass transition and melting temperatures. The offered research targets to increase the mobility of the cellulose chain through oxidation chain cleavage methods, that decrease H-bonds in which the anhydroglucose units are involved and induce a major release of molecular motions within and between the chains.
PI Potthast, A.
The aim of the development in the project “Lignin as a binder” is to modify or select lignin (as raw material) in such a way that it can be used alone or in combination as a binder for wood-based materials. Different lignins will be tested and analysed to establish valid structure-property relationships. In addition to the analytical characterisation, special application tests are carried out which can show suitability even outside of an analytical scale.
5D-Click-Druck zur Herstellung von Strukturen mit Mechanischen und Funktionellen Gradient
PI Beaumont, M.
The research hypothesis is the development of a novel gradient printing approach, named 5D Click Printing, combining cutting-edge bioprinting technology with state-of-the-art materials and crosslinking chemistry. This will be realized by using functional nanocellulose and polyoxazoline as ink formulations to produce 3D objects with mechanical (+1D) and functional gradients (+1D). The proposed ink formulations are based on functional cellulose nanofibrils and polyoxazolines.
Mechanical and functional gradients are reasons for the abundance of functionalities and extraordinary mechanical properties in nature. Mechanical gradients are spatial smooth transitions from mechanically weak to strong structures resulting in materials with remarkable mechanical performance. In case of the in vivo cell environment, the extra-cellular matrix, there are not only mechanical gradients present but also functional gradients, such as an increasing concentration of a bio-active molecule in one dimension. These gradients play an important role in the organization of cells into functional tissues and organs. The imitation of these multidimensional structures by biocompatible and shapeable materials in a straightforward way is a critical challenge that will be addressed in this proposal. The research hypothesis is the development of a novel gradient printing approach, named 5D Click Printing, combining cutting-edge bioprinting technology with state-of-the-art materials and crosslinking chemistry. This will be realized by using functional nanocellulose and polyoxazoline as ink formulations to produce 3D objects with mechanical (+1D) and functional gradients (+1D). The proposed ink formulations are based on functional cellulose nanofibrils and polyoxazolines. These materials were chosen because of their established biocompatibilities, printabilities and the resemblance to the two main components of the extra-cellular matrices, fiber-forming proteins and non-fibrous glycoproteins. The functional groups on the polymers were carefully selected to allow gelation by spontaneous click chemistry, which can be conducted in the presence of living cells. The 5D Click Printing technology will be further developed to fabricate multidimensional hydrogels with various functionalities. These gels will be used to assess and compare diverse characterization techniques to establish a methodology to visualize gradients in multidimensional objects. In conclusion, the developed technology will be the first straightforward avenue to shaped hydrogels with functional and mechanical gradients. 5D Click Printing will be used to fabricate, bioinspired and sophisticated tissue models for biomedical application, and to produce graded membranes for chromatographic separation of complex biopolymer mixtures.
Mid Sweden University, Sweden
Can triboelectricity provide more effective respiratory protection against viruses?
From November 2020 to May 2021
Dr Christina Dahlström
Funding agency: Vinnova (Sweden’s Innovation Agency)
A research group at the FSCN research centre, Mid Sweden University will develop more effective filter materials for respiratory protection that can be used to reduce the spread of viruses, similar to Cov-SARS-2, to counter pandemics. The respiratory protection is based on cellulose material with triboelectric properties, which makes it easier to breathe than with today’s respiratory protection.
More info click here
Illustration: Fredrik Dahlström.