The objective of the Funlock project is to identify new fungal enzymes capable of breaking down the recalcitrant fraction of lignocellulosic biomass for conversion into biofuel. The project partners have opted to use an analytical process that consists of identifying markers to aid in the selection of the target enzymes.
This project kicked off in November 2013 for a duration of 48 months. It is certified by Axelera and financed by the French National Research Agency (ANR).
The project consortium is made up of:
- Three INRA (France’s top agricultural research institute) labs (Fungal Biotechnology and Biodiversity; Biopolymers, Interactions, and Assembly; and Agricultural Resource Fractionation)
- CERMAV (center for research on plant macromolecules)
- IFP Energies Nouvelles
- Research lab AFMB (biological macromolecule architecture and function)
RESULTS TWO YEARS IN:
After two years (halfway through the project); a species of basidiomycete fungus, Laetisaria arvalis, that is very effective on the recalcitrant fraction of cellulose, has been identified and characterized. The fungus sequentially secretes oxidative and hydrolytic enzymes.
In terms of the methodology, a successful medium-throughput fungal enzyme production protocol has been developed. The semi-robotized process will also be used to study dozens of other lignocellulolytic fungal enzymes as the project advances.
The Funlock project has generated one conference paper and an article in the journal Biotechnology for Biofuels.