MultiBioPro Final Meeting

The final meeting to conclude the MultiBioPro project took place from Sept. 14th-16th, 2016 in Belgium. The meeting was hosted by project partner VIB at the Convention Centre Hed Pand, Ghent University and comprised a public day, presenting the results of the project; internal consortium meetings with scientific advisory board members and a visit to the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant.

The first day (public) saw the introduction and aims of MultiBioPro to develop multipurpose crops as a source for environmentally sustainable production of products including renewable energies, non-food oils and biomaterials. The focused crops: tobacco plants (Nicotiana spp.) and poplar (Populus spp.), were outlined and the biorefinery concept developed for coupled extraction of improved biomass and high-value byproducts was presented. Former MultiBioPro coordinator Staffan Persson (now University of Melbourne), who stayed in close contact with the consortium, presented the original project idea to the attendees. Following that, results and successes from MultiBioPro highlighted the progress the 4-year project has made with its strength being successful international academic and industrial collaboration.

The remainder of the meeting (internal) provided the opportunity for partners to give detailed updates on progress of research to the other consortium members.

Furthermore, two external experts were invited: Luisa Trindade of Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), Netherlands and Markus Pauly from Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany. Luisa presented promising maize (Zea mays) breeding approach tailored towards plant attributes important for a biorefinery, whilst Markus presented data on field trials of Agave, biorefinery-relevant maize mutants, and biotechnological engineering strategies of hemicelluloses and highlighted the progress of related projects in the field. Additionally, a visit to the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, Ghent, gave an insight into the available test facilities for innovation in European Bio-based process development, including biorefinery, industrial biotechnology, green chemistry and downstream processing.

These provided excellent reference points for the closing of the meeting where MultiBioPro partners organised the upcoming dissemination of the project and how to fully capitalise on project results along with exploring options for future work.