Research Plan

The critical importance of microbial enzymes to expanding the range of products that can be made from plant-derived biomass is well recognized. However, most applications to date focus on the deconstruction of lignocellulose to commodity products such as fermentable sugars and mono-lignols. SYNBIOMICS is distinguished from other projects by focusing on biocatalysts that upgrade (rather than degrade) all key lignocellulose fractions. In enhancing the inherent value of polymers in lignocellulose, SYNBIOMICS directly addresses the Genome Canada mandate to develop genomics-enabled technologies that create high-value bioproducts from forest resources.

We propose to leverage valuable existing genomics datasets for the development of forest bioproducts by pursuing the following activities:

  1. deploy bioinformatics pipelines to identify and prioritize target genes;
  2. produce recombinant proteins and characterize their biochemical properties;
  3. test targets for ability to tailor cellulose surfaces;
  4. test targets for ability to upgrade hemicellulose;
  5. test targets for ability to increase lignin reactivity;
  6. pursue three related GE3LS activities –
    • coordinate an iterative bioproduct and biotechnology development cycle with end-users,
    • develop techno-economic models for SME ecosystems in the forest sector, and
    • analyze anaerobic bioreactors to develop predictive tools for effluent treatment and energy recovery; and
  7. establish bioinformatics infrastructure and implement tools to support all project activities.