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Exploring anaerobic digestion for biogas production from native kraft lignin, depolymerized lignin, and delignified eucalyptus sawdust

Grant number: 23/12273-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2024
Effective date (End): July 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:Anuj Kumar
Grantee:Mario Alberto Yaverino Gutierrez
Host Institution: Escola de Engenharia de Lorena (EEL). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Lorena , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:20/12559-6 - Bio-valorization of lignin from Kraft pulp mills through establishment of Pulp-Ligcon metagenome sequencing, AP.JP


The objective of this master's project is to investigate the generation of methane from kraft lignin by utilizing an anaerobic microbial consortium to break down the lignin through anaerobic digestion. To ensure the success of this research work , we will utilize a strong foundation in applied microbiologyand the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass, developed within the Industrial BiotechnologyDepartment (DEBIQ), EEL/USP. While a significant portion of DEBIQ's research focuses oncarbohydrate fractions, this project seeks to pioneer the biological enhancement of native kraft ligninfor the production of biogas under anaerobic conditions. Additionally, aside from utilizing kraft ligninsourced from Suzano S.A., depolymerized kraft lignin, and delignified eucalyptus sawdust will alsobe employed as the potential substrates for biogas production , as shown in Figure 1In thefirst phase, optimization of the alkaline treatment conditions for the sawdust with ammoniumhydroxide will be executed through a F ace C entered C omposite D esign (FCCD) and response surfacemethodology (RSM). The treated sawdust will undergo characterization before and after treatment,and will be subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis to assess the sugar yield as a response variable.Subsequently, in the second phase, the performance of the anaerobic consortium in methane productionwill be assessed using the three a forementioned substrates under varying experimental conditions. In the third phase, the project will encompass an analysis of the microbial diversity present within the anaerobic consortium to identify the distinct potent microorganisms engaged in lignin degradation and their distribution. G enomic data will be cross referenced with cultural information from databases in order to compare them with known aromatic compound degraders. This analysis will enable the microbial groups involved in aromatic degradati on and their subsequent transformation into biogas.Beyond the exploration of alternative applications for kraft lignin, this project will deliver value by generating biofuels that align with the sustainable biorefinery approach leveraging the carbon neutral economy.

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