Upstream processing of renewable raw materials and biogenic residues

Renewable raw materials and residues represent a local, sustainable source for the production of high-quality products. Residues are produced in agriculture and also in industrial processes. Usually the desired component is embedded in a complex matrix of other natural substances and must be removed from it.

Our working group pursues the goal of a holistic use of all components. Extraction, isolation or pre-treatment are carried out in such a way as to ensure the recovery or use of all substances while minimizing the flow of by-products. This starts with a comprehensive analysis of the various ingredients. Based on the composition and linkage of the desired substance in the substrate, we decide which tool from our repertoire is to be used for processing. The range of our portfolio includes the application of chemical-physical methods for the fractionation of substrates containing lignocellulose and chitin, for example, through to the enzymatic cleavage of organically bound phosphate.


In industrial biotechnology, renewable raw materials are used in processed form as substrates for the production of enzymes, platform chemicals, fine chemicals, or generally valuable substances. The same applies to residual materials or waste streams, which − long perceived as mere burden − can be converted into valuable substances if they are suitably processed. One example is polyhydroxyalkanoate, which can be produced microbially from a wide variety of residual materials such as molasses or waste fats and oils. Chitin and chitosan are even mainly obtained from waste streams from fishing, insect protein production or edible mushroom production.

Range of services

We offer interested parties and customers

  • the analysis of the chemical composition of their residual, waste and renewable raw materials and
  • the subsequent added value of these substrates.

In order to increase the efficiency of the methods used, we rely on computer-aided optimization strategies with strong economic relevance.

Research topics

Processing of chitin from crab shells and insect skeletons

Insect biorefinery: Utilization of chitin, fats and proteins

Pulping of lignocellulose

Saccharification of lignocellulose

Latex and inulin from dandelion roots

Enzymes for the cleavage of phosphate esters into waste materials