Industrial Biotechnology

Industrial Biotechnology

Renewable energy and chemicals from biomass. This is an interdisciplinary programme designed to exploit plant based biomass for the production of energy and bulk and speciality chemicals. Fermentation of sugars derived from lignocellulosic agricultural wastes, energy crops and municipal waste into bioethanol is a key focus. Other research involves the manipulation of yeast metabolism to generate bulk or speciality chemicals (such as succinate) for use in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. This research involves collaboration with colleagues in Biology, Chemical Engineering, Molecular Life Sciences and Social Sciences.

Fermentation vessels 

“Fermentation vessels: taking a sample from a 15L trial fermentation run”

Key aims and expertise

To replace fossil sources of energy and chemicals with sustainable biomass alternatives. Plant science is being exploited to improve quality characteristics of the biomass. These include yield, resource use efficiency and suitability for processing. Improved methods to convert the biomass to fermentable sugars are being explored. This involves applying material science approaches to understand the impact of physiochemical treatments and fungal genetics to identify novel hydrolytic enzymes. Expertise in yeast genetics and fermentation is being exploited to produce strains of yeast adapted to function optimally under industrial scale processes and to utilise novel feed stocks and produce novel chemicals.

Recent projects

Lignocellulose to ethanol (LACE) (Prof Gregory Tucker)

Optimising processes for the deconstruction of biomass.(Prof Gregory Tucker)

A lignocellulosic-based biorefining strategy for the production of succinic acid by recombinant yeasts (Dr Chenyu Du)

Significant results

  • Yeast strains have been identified that exhibit greater resistance to inhibitors such as organic acids generated during biomass processing. QTL responsible for these traits have been identified.
  • A model has been developed that can help farmers optimise for energy, profit and green house gas emissions in their operations.

Research team

Related research

Brewing Science







Industrial Biotechnology

The University of Nottingham
C09 Bioenergy and Brewing Sciences, Sutton Bonington Campus
Loughborough, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 6126