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Study of microalgal biochar's potential as a support for obtaining sustainable biocatalysts on the context of biorefineries aiming the synthesis of biofuels

Grant number: 22/06209-8
Support Opportunities:Program for Research on Bioenergy (BIOEN) - Regular Program Grants
Duration: March 01, 2023 - February 28, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology
Principal Investigator:Patricia Caroline Molgero da Rós
Grantee:Patricia Caroline Molgero da Rós
Host Institution: Escola de Engenharia de Lorena (EEL). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Lorena , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Cristiano Eduardo Rodrigues Reis ; Larissa de Freitas ; Liana Alvares Rodrigues ; Nídia de Sá Caetano


This project aims to evaluate the microalgal Biochar's potential as a support for immobilization of enzymes in order to obtain more sustainable biocatalysts that can compete with traditional processes from an industrial and economic viewpoint. It is proposed the study of a microalgae-based biorefinery, which aims different biotechnological applications, working on two main fronts: i) use of a new support, of microbial source, for immobilization of lipases in order to obtain biocatalysts that can be applied in biotransformation reactions, especially in the biofuels synthesis; ii) obtaining bioproducts of industrial interest, such as biofuels (biodiesel), essential fatty acids (omegas 3 and 6) and natural dyes from the cellular compounds of microalgal biomass. These two ways must converge in the end of the project to establish a technically viable biotechnological production technology, allowing the integration of processes and sustainability, aiming the full use of microalgal biomass within the concept of biorefinery. To achieve this purpose, initially the microalgae will be cultivated in tubular and bubble column, LED lit, homemade photobioreactors, using previously established conditions for obtaining biomass. After the cultivation stage, the biomass obtainment and the extraction of the interest cellular compounds will be carried out. Finally, the residual biomass is going to be submitted to the pyrolysis process in order to obtain biochar, which will be previously characterized and then will be evaluated as a support for lipases immobilization. In this stage of the project, different methods will be tested, such as adsorption, covalent bonding, and others, in order to select the best catalytic system for conducing transesterification reactions, aiming to obtain biofuels. At the end of the project, it is expected to obtain a new and more sustainable source as a support for enzymes immobilization, in addition to contributing to the replacement of synthetic products by more environmentally friendldy bioproducts, obtained from microalgae. It is also worth mentioning that the microalgal biochar application as a support for lipases immobilization is a research that is still unprecedented in the national context. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SHIBUKAWA, VINICIUS P.; REIS, CRISTIANO E. R.; DOS SANTOS, JULIO C.; DA ROS, PATRICIA C. M.. Utilization of co-products from corn ethanol industry in a biorefinery context: a review on the biotechnological potential of thin stillage. Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering, v. N/A, p. 17-pg., . (22/06209-8, 16/10636-8)

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