Juli 23rd, 2009

28th of April 2009: Kick-off Meeting in Helsinki

The project was presented on the ERA-IB Kick-off Meeting on 28 April 2009 in Helsinki, Scandic Marina Congress Center.


Project presentation

Project poster (size 5 mb)


Investigations on Injection moulding using lignin-natural-fibre-based compounds

Juli 23rd, 2009

Fraunhofer-Institute for Chemical TechnologyInstitute:

Fraunhofer-Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT)


Joseph-von-Fraunhofer-Str. 7
76327 Pfinztal (Berghausen), Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 721 4640- 427 or -0
Fax: +49 (0) 721 4640-111

Project leader:

Dipl.-Ing. Emilia R. Inone-Kauffmann (emilia.regina.inone(at)


The Fraunhofer-Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) is an institute of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the largest organisation for applied research in Europe. Within about 430 employees ICT facilities and expertise focuses on the conception, design and development of products and components, on process technology, research for materials and components, on process monitoring, testing and quality assurance. Facilities for the project comprise complete equipment spectroscopy, polymer processing at mini-scale and mechanical test.

ICT developed and patented a lignin-natural-fibre-based compound called ARBOFORM. The compound has a very characteristic odour, mainly from phenolic groups which might limit use and applications. ICT will provide compounds of ARBOFORM as a base for investigation summarised by 2 tasks:

(1) Characterization of Lignin using Spectroscopy

Near infrared spectroscopy will characterize commercial lignin and that lignin achieved by the enzymatic pre-treatment. It will act as quality control for the raw material lignin, for monitoring the pre-treatment and on-line control in processing.

(2) Compounding of lignin and natural fibres

Commercial available and enzymatic pre-treated lignin will be used as a component for test composites together with reinforcing hemp fibers. The injection molding conditions are to be investigated for enzymatic pre-treated lignin, standard lignin compounds being a reference. A mini injection-molding machine will process small amount of materials to samples for mechanical tests.

Expectations are:

  1. development of an on-line control lignin and compounds including processing
  2. reduction of the odour by enzymatic treatments and subsequent improvement of mechanical properties (e.g. tensile strength)

Project related activities:

  • Control/characterisation methods: On/In-line Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) for polymers, fibres and composites, UV/UV-vis and Raman spectroscopy
  • Injection moulding: Mini moulding BabyPlast

Characterization, optimization and scale-up production of ligninolytic peroxidases for its application in the modification of lignin containing biopolymers and composites

Juli 16th, 2009

University of Santiago de CompostelaInstitute:

University of Santiago de Compostela (USC),
Group of Environmental Engineering and Bioprocesses (GEEB)


Rúa Lope Gómez de Marzoa
15782 Santiago de Compostela
Phone: +34 981 563100
Fax: +34 981 528050

Project leader:

Prof. Maite Teresa Moreira (tmoreira(at)

Responsible co-worker:

Thelmo A. Lu Chau, Ph.D.


Ligninolytic fungi are responsible of the conversion of lignocellulosic material in nature. For this purpose white-rot fungi (wrf) produce ligninolytic enzymes that act extracellular to degrade lignin. These enzymes include laccases, lignin- (LiP) and manganese peroxidases (MnP). It has been demonstrated that wrf, as well as their ligninolytic systems, acting in vivo and in vitro, are able to degrade a wide range of complex substrates. However, not all the ligninolytic enzymes are produced in large quantities. Currently, only laccase is commercially available, while many attempts to overproduce MnP and LiP has not been so successful.

A ligninolytic enzyme that can degrade substrates typically oxidized by both LiP and MnP has been reported in Pleurotus and Bjerkandera species. This versatile peroxidase (VP) has the capacity to act also without manganese, like a LiP enzyme. Although many attempts have been conducted to overproduce this VP enzyme, the titers of active enzyme achieved have been low considering its potential use. Before considering this ligninolytic enzyme for a large scale application the increase of the enzyme levels through the optimization of operational conditions, as well as its scale-up from small flasks to semi-pilot bioreactors should be conducted.

In this project it is proposed to evaluate the production potential capacity, as well as the enzymatic characteristics of the VP produced by a new isolated wrf (anamorph of B. adusta) in comparison to the more studied P. eryngii and B. adusta fungi. The USC group will be in charge of the development of lignin modifying enzymes (manganese and/or versatile peroxidases) with a high activity towards the production of phenoxy radicals by partial lignin activation.

To conquer this objective, USC will carry out the evaluation of ligninolytic activities obtained from three fungal strains, the enzymatic and kinetic characterization of the selected ligninolytic enzyme, the optimization of the culture operational conditions for the production of the enzyme and the scale-up of the fermentation process and the production of large quantities of enzyme for its application in the modification of biopolymers and composites.

Development and production of special phenol-oxidising enzymes

Juli 16th, 2009

Université Libre de BruxellesInstitute:

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB),
Laboratoire de Physiologie et Ecologie microbienne (ULB-UPEM)


642 rue Engeland
B-1180 Bruxelles, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 3733303
Fax: +32 2 3733309
Web site:

Project leader:

Prof. Michel J. PENNINCKX, Ph.D. (mpenninc(at)

Responsible co-worker:

Prof. Gloria A. JIMENEZ, Ph.D. (gjimenez(at)
Charles J. JASPERS, Ph.D. (cjaspers(at)


This partner bring in his strong experience in the production and application of lignin-modifying enzymes for degradation of lignin derivatives present in pulp and paper effluents and in industrial dyes, for polyphenols present in Olive Oil mill wastes and recently endocrine disruptors (bisphenol, nonylphenol, triclosan).

The principal role of the Partner ULB-UPEM is to select fungal strains efficient for enzymatic modification of the raw material in order to reduce emission of Volatile Organic Compounds. Strain collections, in particular of White Rot Fungi (WRF), coming from all over the world (e.g. tropical forests of Latin America and African countries) are in hands of this partner and will be deeply screened for enzyme production.

Detailed activities of Partner ULB-UPEM

a) Selection of WRF strains producing copious amount of thermostable lignin modifying enzymes:

Collections of WRF strains will be screened for laccase production. From previous projects, the partner has already made a pre-selection of around 20 WRF strains among more than 300 strains. These pre-selected strains are estimated as possible candidates for the present project. Suitable cultivation media, added with different inducers will be tested. WRF strains producing copious amount of thermostable phenol-oxidising enzymes will be selected.

b) Study of the enzyme production capacity in submerged and in solid state fermentation:

Two main options will be envisaged for enzyme production: (i) Submerged cultivation of whole fungal cells in batch. The effect of different cultivation parameters on enzyme production will be tested in laboratory scale. These include inducers as well as the morphology in dependence on bioprocess parameters, (ii) Cells immobilized on different supports [solid state fermentation (SSF)]. Partner ULB has experience concerning different bio-materials, including straw, wheat bran, tree leaves. SSF has been shown to be a choice and cheap cultivation method for enzyme production by Partner 3 and other research teams.

c) Study of the catalytic properties of the enzymes:

In a first step, general properties of enzymes present in the produced cocktails will be studied, in particular effects of temperature and pH on the activity and stability. Further investigations will include substrate specificity, in particular activity towards different lignin monomers.

Investigations on material characteristics and quality of fibre reinforced biopolymers

Juli 16th, 2009

Warsaw Univerity of Life SciencesInstitute:

Warsaw Univerity of Life Sciences,
Faculty of Wood Technology


159 Nowoursynowska St.,
02 – 776 Warsaw, Poland
Phone: +48 22 5938630
Fax: +48 22 5938511

Project leader:

Prof. Dr. Ewa Dobrowolska (ewa_dobrowolska(at)

Responsible co-worker:

Prof. Danuta Nicewicz
Piotr Boruszewski, Ph.D.
Piotr Borysiuk, Ph.D.
Mariusz Mamiński, Ph.D.


General: Determination of raw material and product properties.

Specific: Determination of mechanical, dynamical and viscoelastic properties and
weathering and dimensional stability

Description of work:

Investigations on mechanical and surface properties and simulation methods to forecast the behavior in case of environmental impact such as climate and weather on polymer test samples made of modified and unmodified raw materials:

  • Tensile strength (DIN EN 319)
  • Bending strength (DIN EN 310)
  • resistance to axial withdrawal of screws (EN 320)
  • Mechanical properties tests will be performed on Instron 3382 and/or 3369 instruments.
  • Surface hardness (DIN EN 1534 and DIN EN ISO 2039-1)
  • Surface wetting (DIN ISO 8296)
  • Surface energy
  • Photostability
  • For material surface characterization a contact angle analyzer Phoenix 300 (wetting, surface energy) and Solarbox 1500 (UV degradation) will be used.
  • density distribution profile
  • thermal properties (thermal conductivity, thermal diffusity, volume heat capacity)
  • weathering and climate resistance test (DIN EN ISO 877)
  • water uptake and swelling / dimensional stability (ASTM D4446 -05)
  • Density profile will be investigated by X-ray method on a GreCon density analyzer DA-X. Weathering tests will be performed in a climate chamber WK 340 and thermal properties will be examined on heat transfer analyzer Isomet 2104.

Enzymatic modification of lignin

Juli 16th, 2009

VTT - Technical Research Centre of FinlandInstitute:

VTT – Technical Research Centre of Finland
Dpt. Processing of Biomass Components


P.O. Box 1000
FIN-02044 VTT

Project leader:

Dr. Tarja Tamminen (tarja.tamminen(at)


VTT will develop methods to modify lignin, aiming at reducing its odour and improving its ability to bind with the reinforcement fibres in composites. The methods tested will be based on treatment with laccases in the presence or absence of added mediator.

Different laccases will be tested, differing in their redox potential and pH and temperature optima:

  • Trametes hirsuta and Melanocarpus albomyces laccases produced at VTT
  • Laccases provided by other project partners
  • Laccases provided by industrial partner ROAL

The extent of oxidation under various laccase treatment conditions will be followed based on oxygen consumption.

The laccase treatments as such are expected to induce phenoxyl radicals to lignin, which react further mainly by coupling reactions. In the presence of mediators, the reaction may be directed towards degradation rather than polymerisation. Known mediators, such as hydroxybenzotriazol (HBT) and N-hydroxyacetanilide (NHA) will be tested.

The effects of the enzymatic treatments on lignin will be followed by chemical analyses:

  • Changes in molar mass distribution by size exclusion chromatography
  • Small to medium sized degradation products by MALDI-TOF/MS
  • Changes in functional groups (aliphatic hydroxyl groups, different types of phenolic hydroxyl groups, carboxylic acids) by 31P NMR after derivatisation
  • Thermal and physical properties by DSC analyses

The mechanisms and factors affecting the oxidative enzyme catalyzed linking of lignin to fibre material will be elucidated, aiming at defining feasible modification conditions for the application of lignin as composite binder.

Production and characterization of enzyme-complexes for the modification of lignocellulosic materials

Juli 16th, 2009

SIAB Biotechnologie e.V.


Saxon Institute for Applied Biotechnology
at the Leipzig University (SIAB)


Permoserstrasse 15
D-04318 Leipzig, Germany
Phone: +49-(0) 341-2352078
Fax: +49-(0) 341-2352083
e-mail: siab(at)

Project leader:

Prof. Dr. Christian Wilhelm (cwilhelm(at)

Responsible co-worker:

Dipl.-Ing. Holger Unbehaun
Dr. Swetlana König
Dipl.-Ing. Daniel Spindler
Dr. Gerhard Kerns


SIAB is an innovative company which carries out applied research in biotechnology and has long-time experience in industrial enzymes and bioprocess engineering, e.g. application of cellulase-/ hemicellulase-complexes for the enzymatic modification of lignocellulosic fibre materials for the production of glue-free wood materials (esp. medium density fibre boards), testing up to industrial scale.

The subproject comprises three main activities:

(1) Development and characterization of hydrolytic enzymes for the modification of lignocellulosic materials

  • Hemicellulase-/ endoglucanase complexes, esp. xylanase, that are suitable for the degradation of those carbohydrates in lignocellulosic fibres which are responsible for VOC formation during high temperature extrusion
  • development and characterisation of hydrolytic enzymes/ enzyme complexes obtained from two fungal production strains
  • optimisation of the fermentation process for the production of the relevant enzymes up to pilot scale
  • production of the required quantities of concentrated crude enzyme for its use in the work packages of the ERA-IB-project

(2) Development of effective incubation processes for the modification of lignin and fibre substrates using the developed enzymes or enzyme complexes

  • incubation-screening of substrates with the enzyme complexes of the project
  • optimisation of the incubation conditions up to large scale
  • development of separation and drying processes of the substrate

(3) Fermentation of white rot fungi for the production of lignin-modifying enzymes

  • experiments concerning the comparison between solid state and submerged fermentation for the laccase production with selected strains
  • Production of lignin modifying enzymes with pre-selected strains from USC and ULB up to pilot scale with the aim to supply enzyme samples for the investigations and screening tests concerning the application


April 8th, 2009

Saxon Institute for Applied Biotechnology

at the University of Leipzig (SIAB)

Permoserstrasse 15
D-04318 Leipzig

Phone: +49-341-235 2078
Fax: +49-341-235 2083


Managing Director: Prof. Dr. Christian Wilhelm

Board of Directors:

  • Prof. Dr. Christian Wilhelm (Chairman)
  • Dr. Jelka Ondruschka (1. Vice Chairman)
  • Prof. Dr. Jörg-Uwe Ackermann (2. Vice Chairman)
  • Dr. Gerhard Kerns (CFO)
  • Dr. Kathrin Bönsch

Commercial Register Court: District Court Leipzig
Commercial Register Number: VR 2823
VAT Registration Number: DE 200 64 0280

Technical Implementation:
confuture Innovationssysteme GmbH
Gohliser Straße 8
04105 Leipzig
e-Mail: info(at)

Chemical and mechanical analyses of lignin containing biopolymers

April 7th, 2009

Technische Universität DresdenInstitute:

Technische Universität Dresden (TUD):
a) Chair of Wood and Fibrous Materials Technology and
b) Institute of Wood and Plant Chemistry


  1. TU Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany
    Phone: +49 351 463-38101
    Fax: +49 351 463-3288
  2. Postfach 1117, D 01735 Tharandt, Germany
    Phone: +49 35203 38 31239
    Fax: +49 35203 38 31201

Project leader:

Dr.-Ing. Alexander Pfriem (Alexander.Pfriem(at)

Responsible co-worker:

Dipl.-Ing. Holger Unbehaun (a)
Dipl.-Ing. Sören Tech (a)
Dr. Martina Bremer (b)


At TUD two institutes, the Chair of Wood and Fibrous Materials Technology and the Institute of Wood and Plant Chemistry will participate in the present project.

The role of the Chair of Wood and Fibrous Materials Technology in the present project will be the preparation of different fibre substrates (hemp shieve fibre, hemp bast fibre) using double disc refiner for the production of refiner pulp. Analyses of beating degree, fibre sheets properties and sieve tests will be carried out.

In addition, mechanical and surface properties on polymer test samples made of modified and unmodified raw materials will be tested:

  • Impact strength,
  • Determination of dynamic sorption processes,
  • Determination of creep performance,

The role of the Institute of Wood and Plant Chemistry in the present project will be chemical characterization of lignin and fibres before and after the enzymatic modification. Therefore different methods like NMR, GC-MS, Raman-Spectroscopy and wet chemical analyses for determination of functionally groups, methyl groups and saccharides will be used. Investigations on the correlations between the degree of modification and the strength properties will be carry out.

The quantification of VOC-emission will be carried out by thermal desorption combined with GC-MS. The aim is to find a correlation of the VOC-emission with the structural characteristics of lignin. A homogeneous distribution of the modification of lignin in lignocellulosic fibres is basic for strength properties and will be investigated by local reserved Raman-Spectroscopy.

Investigations on molding processability of natural fibre reinforced biopolymers

April 7th, 2009

Université Libre de BruxellesInstitute:

Chemnitz University of Technology,
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,
Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Plastics Technology (IMK),


Reichenhainer Straße 70
09126 Chemnitz, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)371-531-37811
e-mail: slk(at)

Project leader:

Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Nendel (Wolfgang.nendel(at)

Responsible co-worker:

Dipl.-Ing. Robert Stelzer (robert.stelzer(at)


The Professorship of Lightweight Structures and Plastics Processing (SLK) acts as a connective link between fundamental research and industrial application. We mainly work externally funded in close cooperation with manufacturing companies and research institutions. In 2009 our team counts a total of 65 scientific, technical and clerical staff members.

Our research activities are directed towards lightweight design with the focus on processing of fibre and fabric reinforced polymer materials. We develop technological solutions suitable for series production of components and assemblies based on recent material and design concepts. That covers construction as well as modelling, simulation and testing of materials and structures. Furthermore, we solve all problems regarding the manufacturing of structural components in terms of materials handling, construction of special purpose machines, optimisation of process parameters and tool manufacture.

The institutes’ facilities comprise well equipped workshops with machinery for mechanical treatment, compounding, injection and compression moulding as well as numerous experimental rigs for the handling and preparation of reinforced structures. Upon that, there are laboratories for materials testing and analysis.

Relevant to the ERA-IB project, our intention is to investigate rheological properties and process-ability of the modified natural fibre reinforced biopolymers. Therefore, it is planned to run a series of tests in order to determine characteristic values for viscosity and parameters for injection moulding. We will cooperate with Dresden University of Technology (TUD) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT), which prepare the fibres and compounds, respectively.

Subsequent to the development of process-able feedstock compositions, we will produce standard test samples and medium scale prototypes from the new material through an optimised injection moulding process. The moulded samples will be tested for our records and provided to other project partners for their specific investigations.

The properties of the modified lignin materials are supposed to be compared with those of state of the art lignocellulosic-thermoplastics as well as natural fibre filled polypropylene composites.