Bio-Based Industries - CARBOSURF

H2020 BBI

CARBOSURF aims to develop new biobased processes and solve bottlenecks in the fermentative production of biobased biosurfactants and specialty carbohydrates. This 3-year project has 11 partners from 4 European countries.

The project targets the development of innovative fermentation processes to produce different glycolipid biosurfactants with a wide range of application fields and specialty carbohydrates, i.e. complex Human Milk Oligosaccharides that find applications as neutraceutical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic ingredients.

For both product lines, microbial producer strains will be developed through metabolic engineering. Next, fermentation processes and down-stream processing will be developed and optimized in order to obtain an industrial process. Finally, second generation technology based on lignocellulosic substrates will also be developed.

Beyond the development of new processes or solving technical bottlenecks Sufficient amounts of the new products will be produced for application testing, in order to evaluate their market potential in a wide range of application fields. The technical, economic, environmental and social sustainability of the process over the whole value chain from biomass to product application will also be assessed, with an emphasis on identifying and addressing the bottlenecks in the innovation chain. A valorisation plan will be drafted to complete the innovation process.


Specifically, the CarboSurf project targets the development of innovative fermentation processes to produce:

  • Glycolipid biosurfactants, such as rhamnolipids, sophorolipids, xylolipids and mannosylerythritol-lipids
  • Specialty carbohydrates, such as sialylated oligosaccharides

Role of Ghent University

Ghent University is coordinating the CarboSurf project. Ghent University will create and optimize microbial strains for the production of biosurfactants and specialty carbohydrates. It will also develop screening techniques and engineering tools which will allow to efficiently produce these strains. Moreover, it will make an assessment of the IP situation for each product in each application field, and draft a dissemination and exploitation plan.



Prof. Wim Soetaert
Laboratory of Industrial Biotechnology and Biocatalysis
Department of Biochemical and Microbial Technology
Phone number: +32 9 264 60 83