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3BCAR: five scientific revitalisation projects in 2017

The 3BCAR Carnot Institute is funding five scientific revitalisation projects in 2017 which, through the alliance of research strengths in the network, will enable it to respond to the future needs of industry.

. © INRA
By Chantal Dorthe / Alexandre Brosse
Updated on 05/29/2017
Published on 03/21/2017

Five scientific revitalisation projects (cf. insert below) have been selected by the 3BCAR Carnot Institute for 2017. They are presented below: some concern projects that are far upstream with a low TRL, while others involve mature technologies with a view to transfer in the shorter term.

Understanding the phenomenon of metabolic heterogeneity to improve industrial biotechnologies

In a pure culture of microbial cells, not all of them will utilise the same substrate at the same time in the presence of different carbon resources.  
The HME project aims to determine the degree and consequences of this metabolic heterogeneity phenomenon as it affects fermentation processes in the model bacterium Escherichia coli. Using cutting-edge technologies, it proposes to characterise the phenotypic traits of each individual in a population and to explore the impact of parameters that might affect the degree of heterogeneity. The data will be modelled so as to enable the design of appropriate control strategies and thus enhance the performance of these processes.

Developing a microalgal strain rich in palmitoleate, a monounsaturated omega-7 fatty acid

The production of oils rich in monounsaturated omega-7 fatty acids, and more specifically in palmitoleate (C16:1ω7), currently constitutes a major agro-economic challenge. The aim of the NANNOMGA7 project is to develop the first microalgae platform dedicated to producing oil that contains at least 75% palmitoleate.

Developing processes to valorise solid urban wastes for the production of platform molecules

The RECOWER project aims to couple a percolation bioreactor with a process to separate organic products for the in situ production and extraction of organic acids from solid urban wastes. This optimised solid-state fermentation process will be assured by mixed microbial cultures, distribution of the leachate within the mass of residues and management of its recirculation.  These will be studied and modelled so as to predict the extraction of molecules of interest from the solid phase into the liquid phase.

Developing processes to optimise the dry fractionation of biomass by means of electrostatic sorting

Dry fractionation represents an interesting alternative to conventional chemical or biochemical processes used for biomass fractionation, but it needs to be optimised to enable its systematic development at a larger scale.
The SURFDRY project aims to identify the physicochemical and surface properties involved in the electrostatic sorting step. To achieve this, a methodology to characterise the initial biomass and the fractions resulting from electrostatic sorting will be devised, then multicriteria statistical processing will be able to establish any correlations between physicochemical properties and fractionation.

Developing a practical methodology to achieve LCA and ecodesign for immature technologies

The environmental evaluation of new technologies and products requires the evaluation of matter and energy at an industrial scale, which is difficult to achieve for technologies with a low TRL. The ECO-TRANSFORM project aims to develop a robust LCA methodology for immature technologies. To achieve this, it will use modelling at different scales by combining unit operations modules. Applied to two options for the transformation of bioresources (the production of dextran from sucrose and the synthesis of estolides from ricin), this project will lay the foundations for the development of a generic methodology which can then be adapted as required.

3BCAR Carnot Institute:
Alexandre BROSSE (01 42 75 93 82)

The projects selected

  • HME – Metabolic Heterogeneity in Escherichia coli
    Duration of the project: 18 months.
    Research Units: Joint Research Unit for the Engineering of Biological Systems and Processes (LISBP)(Université de Toulouse, CNRS, INRA, INSA, Toulouse), Toulouse White Biotechnology (TWB) (Université de Toulouse, CNRS, INSA, INRA, Ramonville-Saint-Agne), Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology (LBE) (INRA, Narbonne), LCMD (CNRS, ESCPI Paris)
  • NANNOMEGA7 – Development of a microalgal strain rich in palmitoleate
    Duration of the project: 24 months.
    Research Units: Institut Jean-Pierre BourginIJPB(AgroParisTech, INRA, Versailles), Plant Cell Physiology Laboratory (LPCV)(CEA, INRA, CNRS, Grenoble)
  • RECOWER – Coupling of fermentation and separation processes to valorise solid urban wastes for the production of platform molecules
    Duration of the project: 36 months
    Research Units: LISBP, LBE, TWB, LGC (INP, UPS, CNRS, Toulouse)
  • SURFDRY – Understanding the physicochemical properties involved in the dry fractionation of biomass with electrostatic sorting in order to optimise the process
    Duration of the project: 24 months.
    Research Units: Joint Research Unit for Agro-Industrial Chemistry (LCA) (INRA INPT Toulouse), CRT CATAR Technological Resource Centre (Toulouse), Joint Research Unit for Agropolymer Engineering and Emerging Technologies (IATE) (INRA CIRAD, Montpellier SupAgro, Université Montpellier)
  • ECO-TRANSFORM – Environmental evaluation (LCA) and ecodesign of processes for the transformation of bioresources
    Duration of the project: 12 months
    Research Units: LISBP, ITERG (Bordeaux)


For more information on the funding of these research projects through grants from the 3BCAR Carnot Institute

Each year, the 3BCAR Carnot Institute receives funds that are proportional to its collaborations with industry. As well as covering the costs of its operations and activities linked to the increasing professionalisation of the network, these funds can also be used to finance its own research projects.

Thus several revitalisation projects are initiated each year following an in-house call for projects targeting the strategic areas of competence of 3BCAR. These upstream research projects enable the Institute to keep one step ahead and thus anticipate the future needs of companies. The projects will result in new opportunities for innovation and may feed the R&D pipelines of industry through technology transfer.