Establishment and scale-up of technical enzyme processes

Enzymatic biotransformations often occur in an aqueous medium under very mild reaction conditions and are therefore associated with low energy consumption. In addition, enzymes are highly selective, so that no unknown by-products are usually produced during the reaction. The product must be purified and concentrated in a downstream process (downstream processing). This process can often be simplified during process development by selecting the appropriate reaction conditions. The increase in space-time yield can be achieved by targeted process optimization, but also by modifying and optimizing the biocatalysts.

Fraunhofer IGB addresses precisely these aspects in establishing technical enzyme processes and combines experience in the development and optimization of enzyme-catalysed reactions with competence in the field of product processing (downstream processing) and biocatalyst development. The focus is always on the development of scalable processes. For this reason, suitable stirrers are selected during the development phase, for example when establishing an enzymatic conversion in the stirred reactor, suitable criteria for increasing the scale are defined and process conditions are defined with a view to subsequent implementation on a pilot scale. The highly scaled processes designed at the Fraunhofer IGB can be carried out at our institute in Leuna, the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP, or at project partners and customers.

Fields of activity

Preparation of triglyceride and fatty acid epoxides

Saccharification of lignocellulose

Enzymatic modification of lignin

Enzymatic detoxification of lignocellulose pulping solutions

Enzymatic conversion of chitin

Reference projects

SUSBIND – Development and pilot production of SUStainable bio-BINDer systems for wood-based panels

Duration: May 2018 – April 2022

The SUSBIND Consortium develops, produces and tests bio-based binders as an alternative to fossil-based binders currently used for wood-based panel board in furniture mass products. The resulting SUSBIND binder system aims to outperform current fossil-based binders containing a significantly lower carbon footprint, while also reducing formaldehyde emissions.

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Lignoplast – Functionalization of lignin fragments using oxidative enzymes

Duration: July 2013 – December 2016

The aim of the Lignoplast project is the development of adhesives, coatings, polyurethanes and epoxides based on chemically and enzymatically modified lignins.

PhosFarm – Recovery of inorganic phosphate by enzymatic cleavage of organic phosphate esters

Duration: January 2013 – January 2015

PhosFarm as an interdisciplinary European project has made it its goal to extract phosphate in inorganic form from agricultural residues and additionally from waste from the food industry.

BioConSepT – Chemo-enzymatic epoxidation of vegetable oils

Duration: January 2012 – December 2015

The EU-funded BioConSepT project is investigating the use of second-generation raw materials for the production of biobased polymers.


Lignocellulose Biorefinery – Enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated lignocellulosic fibers and enzymatic detoxification of digestion solutions with laccases

Duration: January 2010 – December 2013

The aim of this project was to develop and establish a process for the complete material utilization of all components of lignocellulose by obtaining biobased products based on cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin within a biorefinery.

Integrierte BioProduktion – Integrated chemical-biotechnological production of synthetic building blocks based on renewable raw materials in a biorefinery

Duration: January 2009 – December 2012

Research activities focus on increasing the use of renewable raw materials, especially domestic vegetable oils, for the production of synthetic building blocks for the chemical industry using chemical and biotechnological conversion methods.