European Commission
Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
TOBE 2014 – 3rd BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

"From sectors to system, from concept to reality"

Lene Lange

Lene Lange
Professor - Aalborg University

Lene Lange, Professor in Biotechnology, Aalborg University, Denmark

Field of Research
Studying fungal biomass conversion in nature to understand the enzymatic processes taking place. Develop new methods for bioinformatics-based enzyme discovery. Use such tools for efficient discovery of novel key enzymes for improved biomass conversion (incl biorefinery product development) for generating increased value from agricultural and agroindustrial side streams and waste. Expanding such discovery approach to cover also processes for conversion of animal, fungal and algal biomass. Methodology: Peptide Pattern Recognition, PPR, fungal experimental molecular biotechnology, meta-transcriptomics and secretomics.

Career path, in summary: Lene Lange has reached research director level.



The bioeconomy, the green economy and the circular economy
A new approach to analyzing the bioeconomy in framework of a circular economy will be presented, differentiating between recycling complex biological structures (e.g. proteins and metabolites),  recycling simpler building blocks for new production of upgraded products (e.g. monomer sugars to be used as platform for upgraded products), or returning minerals/micronutrients back to the soil. Examples of biomass conversion processes in nature will be described from the approach of what we can learn from the evolutionary development of biomass conversion, taking place e.g. in animal gut channels or in leaf cutter ant fungal garden. The bioinformatics approach as a short cut to more efficient and function targeted discovery of such biomass conversion niches will be illustrated by the novel tool Peptide Pattern Recognition; more specifically it is presented how to mine a metatranscriptomic or metagenomic data base for all secreted glycohydrolases; and to transform such gene discovery result to a list of enzyme functions present in the data base.  The importance of studying value generation through upgrade of not just plant derived biomass but also algal, animal and fungal biomass will be highlighted. In conclusion visions will be presented and actions proposed for how EU can build momentum in developing the bioeconomy: introducing new and improved technologies and establishing new value chains based on upgrade of waste and side streams for improved competitiveness of EU industries