DEINOVE, a biotech company developing innovative processes for the production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals using Deinococcus bacteria as host strains (earlier post), has reached the third and penultimate milestone of its DEINOL project supported by Bpifrance. Achievement of this milestone triggers funding, adding up to €1.2 million (US$1.3 million) from Bpifrance, in the form of an innovation grant.
The DEINOL program, initiated in 2010, aims to develop and market a consolidated, second-generation (2G) bioethanol production process using true non-food biomass (agricultural residues, organic waste, etc.) as raw material. The company says that reaching this third milestone validates the progress made in recent years:
Improved ethanol production performance: DEINOVE’s tools and unique genetic engineering and fermentation skills have resulted in ethanol production of 9% from glucose.
Improved hemicellulolytic and cellulolytic activities of the strain, an intrinsic Deinococcus capacity that allows significant reduction in the cost of the hydrolysis step prior to fermentation.
The use of a variety of carbon sources, including very efficient co-assimilation of sugars (C5 and C6) from 2G biomass—wheat straw, corn stover, urban waste—resulting in better bioethanol production performance from these various industrial substrates. Several conclusive and repeated tests were conducted on this basis in 20-liter fermenters.
Improved tolerance of the strain to inhibitors common to 2G substrates.
Progressive scale-up from 250 ml to laboratory-scale pilot.
Validation of a strain preservation and stability method, which can be a decisive industrial advantage for manufacturing starters.
DEINOVE currently has a diverse portfolio of 18 patent families consisting of more than 180 patent applications in Europe, the US and China.
DEINOL is supported by the French Strategic Industrial Innovation program (Innovation Strategique Industrielle; ISI), which foresees an overall funding for DEINOVE up to €6.3 million (US$6.9 million). The company has already received €4.1 million (US$4.5 million) in the preceding phases.