Work Packages

WP 1 - Scientific characterization

The main objectives of WP1 are: the documentation on suitable methods for hemicelluloses extraction from hemp shives, and the preliminary characterization of enzymes and activated supports for the development of immobilization protocols. The latter can be divided in the following sub-objectives:
Review of existing methods to extract hemicellulose (xylan) from lignocellulosic sources.
Characterization of a number endoxylanases, exoxylanases and arabinofuranosidases.
Characterization of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains.
Preparation and characterization of new activated supports useful for the immobilization-stabilization of enzymes. Preparation of rigid supports containing a high concentration of glyoxyl groups: Sepabeads and Purolite; Preparation of heterofunctional supports with ionized amino groups plus glyoxyl groups (Sepabeads and Purolite).
Finding the best enzymes and the best supports suitable for the preparation of new and better biocatalysts is essential for a cost-effective production of xylo-oligosaccharides and xylose, and from that xylitol.

WP 2 - XOS and xylose production

The main objective of WP2 is the enzymatic production of xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) and xylose. The preparation of excellent immobilized biocatalysts (very active, highly stabilized, having very good mechanical properties, etc) will allow us to greatly optimize and simplify the design of the processes catalyzed by the enzymes, i.e. production of XOS varying in chemical structure and xylose as by product.
This objective is divided in 2 sub-objectives:
Immobilization-stabilization of several endoxylanases and other previously characterized enzymes to produce different types of XOS.
Optimization of the biocatalyst for the production of XOS and xylose by hydrolysis of the xylan containing hemicellulose (isolated from hemp shives).

WP 3 - Xylitol production

Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain improvement for the best xylitol yields and co-substrate specific selectivity.
Identification of key process parameters and technological limitations (inhibitors, co-substrate uptakes) of xylitol production in a real-life substrate solution.
Method optimization and integration with the XOS production process.

WP 4 - Functional validation

To determine the prebiotic effect of different hemp-derived xylooligosaccharides (XOS), differing in degree of polymerization, branching and ratio of xylose (Xyl) and arabinose (Ara) in comparison to other existing prebiotics.
To determine the health benefits of the different XOS with respect to increase in beneficial microbes, decrease in opportunistic pathogens, and production of beneficial microbial metabolites, with a focus on butyrate.
To determine the structure function relationship between the effect of the different hemp derived XOS and microbiota (composition and activity).

WP 5 - Demonstration activities

Scaling-up of biocatalyst prototypes, processes integration and feasibility studies.
Transfer of the technological processes to the SMEs.
Testing and demonstration of the production processes of XOS and xylitol from hemp shives.

WP 6 - Exploitation and dissemination of results

Development of a dynamic project website.
Management of Intellectual Property.
Dissemination of project results among the SMEs.
Training based on the developed technologies to the participant SMEs.
Dissemination activities in a relevant format for five target dissemination audience: project participants, scientific community, policy makers and regulatory authorities, stakeholders, and the general public.
Formal communication of LIGNOFOOD results on a European conference.

WP 7 - Management

To form a strong organizational structure to achieve effective and result-driven management.
To ensure that goals and objectives are clearly defined and visible throughout the project.
To manage the Consortium Agreement.
To monitor progress among planned and actual activities. To identify risks and issue corrective action plans as necessary.
To setup active administrative and technical management throughout the whole project life-cycle, ensuring timely delivery of all the management and technical reports to the REA.
Provide efficient financial management and issuing of payments as necessary. Manage Audit trail.