Contributing to the Bio-based Economy: The WoodZymes project covers the
entire value chain from forest biomass (hardwood and softwood) to phenolic
and sugar-derived equivalents of fossil-derived chemicals for the manufacture of medium-density
fibreboard (MDF), polyurethane (PU) insulation foam and bleached paper, through the transformation
of underutilised lignin and hemicellulose fractions extracted from pulp mills with tailor-made
The WoodZymes project aims to provide the wood industries with «wood transforming
enzymes» able to work in the extreme operation conditions (i.e. extremozymes) required to
remove or modify hemicelluloses and recalcitrant lignin protecting cellulose in the plant cell wall.
To achieve this goal we will develop tailor-made extremozymes tolerating the extreme conditions of pH
and temperature in wood processing, to selectively valorise underutilised lignin
and hemicellulose fractions, providing high-value bio-equivalents of petroleum-derived chemical building blocks.
WoodZymes illustrates the potential of extremozymes in the global
bio-based economy, contributing to the sustainability and competitiveness of
cellulose and board and polyurethane manufacture, and establishing a direct link between the pulp and
wood industrial sectors. Current trends show that there is an increasing demand
for bio-based products worldwide, aiming to reduce petro-chemical products and non-renewable materials used nowadays in many
applications, especially in the building and furniture industry.
The feasibility of this ambitious project is based on a strong European consortium formed by world-leading
companies of the pulp & paper, fibreboard manufacture and insulation materials sectors, a biotech
SME commercializing extremophilic enzymes and several research institutes and
technology centres of the wood, cellulose, lignin and enzyme sectors. To know more about the
WoodZymes team visit the section About Us.
To develop extremozymes adapted to industrial operation conditions (including high temperature and pH) by screening and protein
engineering, to be applied as biocatalysts in the wood conversion sector.
To use the developed extremozymes for the production of lignin-derived phenols and hemicellulose-derived sugars from underutilized
side streams of hardwood and softwood kraft pulp mills, followed by chemical characterization of the obtained products.
To obtain new medium-density fibreboards and polyurethane materials by using lignin-based resin precursors and phenols, respectively, and to use
hemicelluloses-derived sugars as papermaking additives.
Evaluation of the technical, environmental and socio-economic feasibility of the previous objectives, including market requirements,
waste management, and life-cycle assessment/life-cycle costing analyses.