From Sweet to Valuable

Projecttitel: From Sweet to Valuable
Projectnummer: LWV 20.209
Missie: Sleuteltechnologieën
MMIP:  ST2 Biotechnologie en veredeling
Projectleider: Katarina Cankar

Carbohydrate-rich crops are nowadays efficiently processed to extract valuable food ingredients. An example is sugar beet from which saccharose is extracted. The agriculture and processing of sugar beet is relevant for the Dutch agro-economy. However, innovations are needed so that every part of the sugar beet can be processed into new, preferably high value products and in the same time transforming the sector towards a circular agriculture. The sugar beet agricultural and processing side streams are a rich resource of polysaccharides which can be converted into ingredients for the food, bioplastics and energy industries. The aim of the “Sweet to Valuable” project is to create a platform via which different sugar side streams of sugar beet processing are used to generate high value plant products such as flavours and insect repellents via microbial fermentation.
Bacterium Rhodobacter has excellent potential for this since it is already used to produce high-value flavour terpenes on a commercial scale and it is has the unique property that it can utilize several sugars simultaneously. We will develop a refinery processes to obtain fractions containing fermentative sugars and will enhance the potential of the microbial host Rhodobacter to more efficiently take-up and assimilate several sugar sources simultaneously. The sugars are subsequently converted by the bacterium to high value plant compounds by introduction of plant biosynthetic pathways. End goal is to upgrade the value of the plant side products from the sugar beet industry and equip the microbial host Rhodobacter to utilize complex feedstocks for a more cost-efficient production of high value compounds. We will apply this process to produce new products for the flavour and fragrance and crop protection markets.