The scope of my HDR covered ten years of research at IFPEN within the context of the development of Futurol™, a process aimed at producing 2nd-generation bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. My research enabled me to acquire the fundamental knowledge and technical data required to optimize this bioprocess:
• the 1st part was dedicated to the impact of the physicochemical properties of the biomass of interesta on the performance of the two key steps, i.e. pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis;
• the 2nd part led to the optimization of one key enzyme contained in the enzyme cocktail produced by the industrial strain Trichoderma reesei fungus;
• the 3rd part concerned the development of mechanistic or predictive models for the cellulose hydrolysis step.

Acquiring the HDR allowed me to go on to supervise several PhD theses at IFPEN relating to Futurol™, one of which focused on the “multi-tool characterization” of pretreated biomassesb.

Diagrammatic representation of the principle underlying IFPEN’s genetic tool based on Crispr-Cas technology.

The experience acquired throughout this period was also invaluable for my contribution to the development of a bio-based industrial solvent production process (n-butanol and isopropanol) using an anaerobic bacteria belonging to the Clostridium genus.

In addition, two theses supervised in partnership with the University of Wageningen resulted in the acquisition of new omicc data and the validation of a Crispr-Cas-type genetic tool (figure), currently revolutionizing the genetic engineering of industrial strains (1,2).

a - Including a study dedicated to the modifications produced by the pretreatment step on miscanthus, a rhizome plant being considered as a perennial crop in France
b - Thesis by J. Passicousset: Physicochemical descriptors of lignocellulosic biomass in enzymatic hydrolysis: towards in situ characterization (2019)
c - https://www.ifpenergiesnouvelles.fr/article/chimie-biosourcee-limportance-dacquerir-grand-nombre-donnees-biologiques

(1) M. Diallo, R. Hocq, F. Collas, G. Chartier, F. Wasels, H. S. Wijaya, M. W. T. Werten, M. W. T. Wolbert, S. W. M. Kengen, J. van der Oost, N. Lopes Ferreira, A. M. López-Contreras (2020), Clostridium beijerinckii. Methods. 172:51-60.

(2) F. Wasels, J. Jean-Marie, F. Collas, A. M. López-Contreras, N. Lopes Ferreira (2017), Journal of microbiological methods. 140:5-11.


Scientific contact: nicolas.lopes-ferreira@ifpen.fr