2,5‑Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) is a biobased alternative to petrochemically produced terephthalic acid, which is used in formation of e.g. polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyesters for the packaging and textile industry, offering a huge market potential for this platform chemical. Biotechnologically, the transgenic bacterial strain Pseudomonas putida S12 for the conversion of 5‑hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) to FDCA has been investigated. However, this strain is classified in Germany as biosafety level 2, which means increased safety requirements for production and thus higher costs.
The project focuses on the targeted development of biological systems: to generate tailor‑made enzymes in non‑conventional and non‑pathogenic yeasts (Arxula adeninivorans and Hansenula polymorpha) which catalyze the reaction from HMF to FDCA, leading to an economic process due to efficient biotechnological conversion and the use of lignocelluloseic sugars as fermentation feedstock and unpurified HMF from synthesis of sugars as intermediate. The Fraunhofer CBP is responsible for the delivery of raw materials (lignocellulosic sugars and HMF) as well as the development and scale‑up of fermentation and catalysis processes.