Top Down Proposal Technology Area

T2 White Biotechnology

Outline of the area

White Biotechnology

It is expected that the creation of chemicals from biomass by the white biotechnology will largely contribute to the reduction of CO2 emission in light of carbon neutral and energy-saving. In order to develop a practical production process of the biomass based chemicals, it is extremely important to establish the fundamental technologies in the based chemical industries such as (i) efficient separation of objective biomass components, (ii) chemical-engineered and biological-engineered conversion into core chemicals, and (iii) synthesis of high performance polymers and utilization thereof. An innovative elemental technology in the throughout process for producing high added-value chemicals from biomass will be developed to establish the biomass-based chemical industry.

Operationally we cooperate not only within the ALCA technology area but also with other JST programs. In addition, in order to effectively promote the cooperation among the projects with “Technical development of producing process of chemicals from inedible plants” in NEDO, a joint meeting comprising JST, NEDO and concerned parties for the project are established.

In the ALCA white biotechnology, attention is focused on the polymer material as a final product. We promote development of synthesis and a material design for high polymer properties such as high thermal resistance, high strength and also the development of a process for effectively producing a monomer chemical. Operationally, this technology area consists of three types of the team type, the elemental technology type and the Specific technology type. The research and development on "vertical integration type team research", "elemental technology research for solving the technological bottleneck" and "next-generation cellulose fiber" is mainly conducted for 5 fiscal years in each type.

Team Type

Innovative Synthesis of High-Performance Bioplastics from Polysaccharides

Tadahisa Iwata
Professor, The University of Tokyo

High-performance bioplastics are innovatively synthesized from polysaccharides extracted from nature or produced by enzymatic polymerization with keeping their characteristic structures. New products with high added-value and environmental harmonization are developed.

Innovative synthesis of high-performance bioplastics from polysaccharides

Team Type

Catalytic Production of Di-Carboxylic Acids and Diols from Biomass-Derived Carbohydrates

Kiyotaka Nakajima
Associate professor, Hokkaido University

An environmental benign production of dicarboxylic acids and diols from non-edible and biomass-derived carbohydrates has been developed with stable and highly active heterogeneous catalysts. These compounds are readily available as raw materials for useful plastics as replacements of fossil fuel-derived polyesters.

Catalytic production of di-carboxylic acids and diols from biomass-derived carbohydrates

Team Type

Development of Bioprocess Using Marine Microbial Enzymes for Efficient Lignin Degradation and Catalytic Generation of Super-Urushiol from Lignin Monomers

Yukari Ohta
Lecture,Gunma University Gunma University Center For Food Science and Wellness

The non-food biomass containing lignin is pre-treated with an environmental harmonized type approach. By using the so-obtained product, phenyl propanone aromatic monomers are selectively manufactured by using the set of enzymes of marine microorganisms. Further, the monomers will be functionally developed into a “super urushi material” by chemical catalysts.

Development of bioprocess using marine microbial enzymes for efficient lignin degradation and catalytic generation of super-urushiol from lignin monomers

Elemental technology

Development of Microbial Process for Production of Glycolate-Based Polymers from Sugars

Ken'ichiro Matsumoto
Professor, Hokkaido University

By constituting an artificial polymer synthetic system in microorganism, a plastic which is superior in degradability is synthesized from renewable sugar biomass.

Development of microbial process for production of glycolate-based polymers from sugars


Development of Highly Functional Polymer Using Structural Characteristics of Furan Ring

Yuya Tachibana
Associate Professor, Gunma University

As furfural having furan ring is fatally produced from cellulose and hemicellulose due to the cost competitive edge, the polymer having furan ring would be produced from biomass. We are developing the "bio-based" highly functional polymer with the addition of the peculiar function using the structural characteristics of furan ring.

Development of highly functional polymer using structural characteristics of furan ring

Elemental technology

Sugar-Independent Bioproduction of Muconic Acid

Tomonori Sonoki
Associate professor, Hirosaki University

We develop a microbial process for effectively producing muconic acid which can be utilized for a wide variety of phenolic polymerization from lignin.

Sugar-independent bioproduction of muconic acid


Extraction and Utilization of Lignin via Sustainable Process

Kazuhiro Shikinaka
Senior Researcher, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology

In this program, we will prepare sustainable yet effective method for utilization of lignnocellulosic biomass. The effective extraction of lignin and polysaccharides will be achieved by ultrafine bead milling and enzymatic saccharification for plants that never needs some toxic reagents. Furthermore, the obtained lignin will be used as materials with non-flammable, shape memory, and ultraviolet absorption characteristics. In the future, we aim a creation of "Agricultural Industry" in which polysaccharide and lignin of plants are used as sugar/alcohol and high performance polymer, respectively.

Extraction and utilization of lignin via sustainable process

Elemental technology

Microbial Conversion into Polymer Ingredient from Biofuel Waste Based Biomass

Toshiaki Nakajima-Kambe
Professor, University of Tsukuba

The production of 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PD) which is a polymer ingredient is sought from the waste glycerol obtained through the manufacturing the biodiesel fuel.

Microbial conversion into polymer ingredient from biofuel waste based biomass

Elemental technology

New Development of Natural Rubber by Technological Innovation of Vulcanization

Yuko Ikeda
Professor, Kyoto Institute of Technology

In order to reduce carbon dioxide emission and establish security and a safe society, a technology for controlling the vulcanization for rubbers is consolidated in view of biodiversity and biosecurity of natural rubber.

New development of natural rubber by technological innovation of vulcanization

Specific technology

Nanocellulose Controls Molecular Chirality in Heterogeneous Asymmetric Organocatalysis

Takuya Kitaoka
Professor, Kyushu University

An unexpected combination of wood nanocellulose and organocatalysts provides new insight into asymmetric synthesis with high catalytic efficiency and high stereo-selectivity.

Nanocellulose controls molecular chirality in heterogeneous asymmetric organocatalysis.

Specific technology

Preparation of Cellulose Nanofiber Composite Plastic Foam with Ultralight and High Insulation Performances

Masahiro Ohshima
Professor, Kyoto University

CNF as a multifunctional additive is composited and foamed with a plastic in a way that hundreds of billions of pores a nanometer in size are formed in a material and the weight per unit volume of the material is reduced to a tenth or less of its original weight, thereby foams having high thermal resistant property are created.

Preparation of cellulose nanofiber composite plastic foam with ultralight and high insulation performances