Enabling Technology Project
Production of Effective Biomass Materials with Bioresource Technology
Outline of the area
Biomass can be converted into a useful bioresource such as bioethanol, bioplastic, core chemical and others upon CO2 fixation, and is expected to contribute to reducing GHG emission. While various biomass production research projects are currently promoted both within and outside Japan, there exist many hurdles for the practical use such as stability and reproducibility in the open air and open system, the cost for purifying a target material and so on.
This ALCA project aims for enhancement of the biomass production and the effective utilization of its useful component by gene modifi cation and metabolic control, in order to effectively utilize CO2 which is fixed by the biological body from the environment. Our project will contribute to the achievement of a low carbon society, conducting R&D based on the output of ALCA research so far with knowledge and technology linkage.
Artificial Control of Cytoplasmic Streaming as a Platform System for Plant Biomass Enhancement
Associate Professor, Waseda University
An intracellular transport called “cytoplasmic streaming” occurs in the cell of every plant. We have shown that artificial increase in the velocity of myosin enhanced the plant size of Arabidopsis concomitant with the acceleration of the cytoplasmic streaming.
The purpose of this project is development of a platform system for biomass enhancement through increasing myosin velocity further and applying it not only to Arabidopsis but to rice.
Methane/Methanol Conversion by an Innovative Bioprocess Using Gas Phase Microbial Reaction
Professor, Nagoya University
The targets of this study are low grade methane emitted from wastewater treatment facilities and landfills and organic waste that potentially produces methane amounting to 1/9 of the used amount of natural gas. We will synthesize microbial cells with high methanol productivity through metabolic engineering, immobilize them in a high density by an original method using an adhesive protein, construct a gas-phase process without babbling and stirring, and convert methane into methanol, which is important as fuel and a hub chemical.
Generation of Diatom Factory through Physiolomics toward a Novel Energy Source
Associate Professor, University of Hyogo
Diatoms owe around a quarter of annual photosynthetic production on earth. Therefore, they possess infinite potential as a biofactory to produce valuable materials using solar light energy. In this project, we will bring out their potential by applying our original cutting-edge technology for the transformation of diatom. The generated diatom lines will be able to grow well under open-air light environments and become useful platforms to convert carbon dioxide into valuable metabolite using solar light energy through improved photosynthesis efficiency. Our project will contribute the establishment of carbon-neutral world by developing the industrial biofactory system utilizing the transformed diatoms.
Genome-Based Research and Development of Thermo-Tolerant Microbes Aiming at Low-Cost Fermentation
Professor, Yamaguchi University
We have isolated thermotolerant microbes from tropical environment, and also acquired thermally adapted strains by means of experimental evolution. Using these thermotolerant and/or thermo-adapted strains, we have aimed at developing “high-temperature fermentation system”, and also at elucidating the mechanism of thermotolerance or thermal adaptation. Our approaches enable us to establish low-cost and robust fermentation systems, which could lead to Low Carbon Society by supporting the development of White biotechnology.
Producing New Wood in Plant with No Wood
Senior scientist, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
In order to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, it is requested to expand the production of second generation bioethanol using inedible plant woody material as an ingredient. The present issue is to develop a plant forming a new woody material which can produce bioethanol at a low cost and in large amounts in comparison with a normal wood material, by additionally expressing various genes in a plant which cannot produce the woody material due to mutation of important genes.
Effective Aquatic Biomass Production Utilizing Mutualistic Microorganisms
Professor, Hokkaido University
We are discovering unknown symbiotic actions on the surface of aquatic plants and creating highly functional vegetation units that are rationally redesigned. Thus developed highly functional vegetation unit without genetic modification absorbs nitrogen and phosphorus contained in wastewater as well as atmospheric CO2 at high-speed as fertilizer and purifies water with light energy. Furthermore, its high growth rate enables efficient production of useful biomass containing abundant starch and protein etc.
Promotion of Photosynthesis and Plant Productivity by Controlling Stomatal Aperture
Professor, ITbM, Nagoya University
The stoma present on the epidermis of a plant is a sole inlet of carbon dioxide necessary for photosynthesis which is the plant-inherent metabolic reaction. It has been known that the stomatal resistance which is created in incorporating carbon dioxide through the stoma is one of the main rate restricting steps for photosynthesis. In the present research, a molecular mechanism for stomatal opening and closing is elucidated, and creation of a plant body in which the stomatal aperture is artificially controlled and identification of a compound controlling the stomatal aperture are addressed to seek the improvement of the photosynthesis activity (CO2 uptake) and the plant productivity.
Advanced Bioethanol Production by Acetic Acid Fermentation from Lignocellulosics
Specially-Appointed Professor, Kyoto University
With the aim of establishing a low carbon society, ALCA research has been conducted for a new ethanol production process using acetic acid fermentation. The present process consists of hydrolyzing lignocellulosics by hot-compressed water without catalyst, followed by acetic acid fermentation of the obtained decomposed products, and ethanol production from acetic acid by hydrogenolysis. In this process, ethanol can be manufactured with high efficiency in comparison with conventional yeast alcoholic fermentation.