Santé et Bio technologies Biotech - Bioressources

Production biocatalytique de bioproduits lipidiques à partir de matières premières renouvelables et


Keywords: oleaginous microorganism; lipid; biojetfuel; bioprocess; nutrition; chemistry; renewable ressources; economy


The aim of the ProBio3 project is to develop a new pathway to sustainably produce bio jet fuel and other chemicals: the microbial conversion
of specific fatty acids as carbon substrates from renewable non-food resources and industrial by-products.


Compared to plant oils, microbial pathway has many advantages:

- the ability to propose an outstanding safeguard against volatile supplies and fossil oil prices by using a wide range of agricultural non food substrates, effluents or industrial co-products

- the ability of tuning lipid composition to modulate fatty acid profile by using different wild strains, engineered micro-organisms and culture strategies;

- the valorisation of co-products as proteins for animal food, according to the biorefinery concept.

- the quantitative and qualitative reproducibility of the microbial processes without geographic and climate dependence

- the maturity of fermentation technology involved in the process, from laboratory pilot up to industrial scale

- strong indications that the environmental gain of biofuel produced by microorganisms is greater than any other pathways of biofuel production (preliminary results from SWAFEA project).


15 partners associated their competences from Life Sciences to Process Engineering including Economic, Social and Human Sciences, Economy, Environmental, Social and
Ethic Sciences. 7 WP combine research and development programmes with strong interactions between multidisciplinary skills to screen
agricultural renewable resources and industrial by products, to develop bioprocesses for intensive lipid production involving new and robust
industrial microorganisms, up to 1m3 with assessment of environmental, economic and societal impacts. These partners are international industrial stakeholders and, international leading academic laboratories labelled by the two major Scientific French Research Agencies CNRS and INRA, also including TSE foundation, the TWB and national technical centres of experts. Probio3 benefits of longstanding collaboration of these academic and industrial partners within microbial lipid production with 12 projects and 7 patents and 59 publications (20 publications as co-authors) published before the beginning of ProBio3.  



7 WP combined research and development works with strong interactions between multidisciplinary skills (genetic engineering, metabolism, microbial engineering, bioprocess, economy, environmental, social and ethic sciences):

- (WP1) screened industrial pre-treated substrates or by-products provided by internal partners and evaluated their fermentescibility ( by products from starch and sugar refinery, by products from biodiesel industry, high dry matter content lignocellulosic substrates from wood or wheat straw provided by external producers, CO2 and its derivatives within a recycling by-product strategy). A highly attractive approach, called a consolidated bioprocess, was also investigated to convert lignocellulosic biomass-to-lipid in one step with bi-functional microorganisms;

- (WP2) developed new and robust industrial microorganisms to modulate intracellular lipid profile and to optimise lipid accumulation; from physiology study, biological and physical bottlenecks were identified and intensive bioprocess strategies were deduced according to realistic industrial criteria;

- (WP3) transposed oilseed extraction methods to oil microbial cells and/or developed new methods of pre-treatment of microbial cells and extraction process involving green solvents;

-  (WP4) quantified the performances for microorganisms/substrates within optimized fermentation strategies taking into account the specificities of the substrates, strains and products; the quantification was performed in laboratory pilots (from 1 to 20 litres) and small industrial pilot (m3). The impact of co-products valorisation, as CO2, glycerol, proteins and various lipids, on the overall production costs of lipids was evaluated. A multi-stage scale-up approach was employed with mass and energy balances. The proof of feasibility at pilot scale was tested in a first run.

- (WP5 ) evaluated all over the project, environmental, economic, technological and ethic impacts including Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), to ensure an efficient and sustainable process for Bio Jet fuel production;

- (WP6) transfered research outputs and customised information and knowledge;

- (WP7) provided a strong component in management.


The project ( started on July 1st 2012. The consortium agreement was signed on Jan. 2014. COMEX and COS meetings
allowed to successfully monitor the project. Four annual meetings took place on 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 in Toulouse (Airbus,ICT and LISBP) and
Lille (Tereos). Highlighting results were : the design of culture strategies on industrial media to carry out cultures at lab and pilot scale, an
efficient feeding substrate strategy to perform high dry matter concentration hydrolysis, the increase of lipid accumulation in Y. lipolytica up to
50% (w/w), the proof of concept on alkane and alkene production with C. necator, lipid excretion obtained from a new engineered strain of
Yarrowia lipolytica, an oil extraction yield of 95-97% achieved with dry way extraction, first evaluation of economic and environmental impacts
of ProBio3 technology. Five patents were filed, nine publications were published and thirteen communications were done in 2016. 7 PhD
students were involved in the project with industrial support and 1 PhD student defended his thesis in 2016. Due to an important milestone in 2015 which involves reorientation of the project, ProBio3 stopped in 2016.

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

General informations

Acronym: PROBIO3
Reference Number: 11-BTBR-0003
Project Region: Occitanie
Discipline: 4 - Agro Eco
PIA investment: 4,363,818 €
Start date: June 2012
End date: December 2016

Project coordination : Carole JOUVE

Consortium du projet

Etablissement coordinateur : INRA Toulouse
Partenaire(s) : INRA Jouy-en-Josas, INRA Versailles-Grignon, CNRS délégation Occitanie Ouest, INRA Avignon, Fondation Jean Jacques Laffont TSE, CREOL, Centre de Valorisation des Glucides et Produits naturels, Institut Des Corps Gras, Tereos Syral S.A.S., Sofiprotéol, Airbus Operations SAS, Airbus Group Innovations, Université Paris-Saclay

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