Obtaining levans and fructo-oligosaccharides of the levan type from residues from sugar beet processing (LeFOS)

Holistic and integrated sustainability assessment of the innovative extraction of sugars from residues from sugar beet processing

Project description:

The cultivation of sugar beets and the extraction of beet sugar play an important role in the Central German region. However, sugar beet residues such as sugar beet leaves have not yet been used, while the residues from sugar production are mainly used as animal feed and not to produce high-quality food ingredients. There is therefore a great need for improved chemical and material utilization of these material flows. Therefore, a sustainable process is to be developed that enables the use of the above-mentioned plant raw materials for the biotechnological production of levans and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) of the levan type. These functional carbohydrates can be produced from sucrose using lactic acid bacteria or recombinant enzymes and have high potential for use as hydrocolloids, fat substitutes or sugar substitutes. To obtain levans, lactic acid bacteria and Pichia pastoris strains should be selected or developed that grow in specially developed, sugar beet-based media and deliver high levan yields. The levans purified from the media will be converted into levan-type FOS using digitally optimized levanases. When developing the individual process steps, various digital methods (including various machine learning tools, digitally supported enzyme engineering) are used. Once suitable conditions have been established, the production of levanene and levan-FOS will be transferred to pilot scale. In addition, the applicability of the products in various food model systems is determined. The aim of the improved chemical and material utilization of sugar beet through the developed process is to establish new value chains in the Central German region.

At the UFZ, as part of accompanying research for this project, a holistic sustainability assessment is being created using the UFZ method HILCSA.

UFZ project management:

Walther Zeug

Project data:

Funding provider: BMBF
FKZ: 031B1449E
UFZ funding: €242,654.00
Project duration: April 1, 2024 to December 31, 2028
Project coordinator: Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU)
Partner: Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes (CBP)