A flexible bacterial consolidated bioprocess for conversion of plant biomass into short-chain fatty acids
Research Project, 2022 – 2025

Efficient utilization of plant biomass is important in the shift to a sustainable society. Biochemical processes are regarded as the most sustainable alternative, but they have difficulties in competing with petrochemical processes, partly because they require expensive enzymes to break down the biomass into fermentable sugars. A solution would be to develop consolidated bioprocesses (CBPs), where the microorganisms can produce the necessary enzymes themselves and simultaneously produce desired molecules. Attempts to create CBPs based on model organisms have met with limited success as they lack the enzymatic systems for biomass deconstruction. In this project the goal is to develop a flexible CBP based on bacteria from the Bacteroidetes phylum that have ideal innate abilities – efficient degradation of complex biomass and production of short-chain fatty acids during growth. By modifying their fatty acid production through molecular biology, we can create strains that produce single fatty acids – desirable in industry. Coupled to this, we will create designer strains with assigned carbohydrate degradation profiles, by moving entire gene clusters endowing these capabilities between species via cutting-edge methods. The project will thus yield new strains that through co-culturing can ensure simultaneous deconstruction of all carbohydrates present in industrially relevant biomass and production of fatty acids to be used as building blocks for e.g. plastics and fuels.


Johan Larsbrink (contact)

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Industrial Biotechnology

Verena Siewers

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Systems and Synthetic Biology


University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, USA



Project ID: 2021-01079
Funding Chalmers participation during 2022–2025

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces


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Basic sciences


Health Engineering

Areas of Advance

Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)

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