Special Issue on biotechnological conversions of bioresources

Published 03 February, 2024


Due to the evolving lifestyles in developed societies over the past 10-15 years, coupled with emerging challenges such as escalating greenhouse gas emissions, depletion of non-renewable resources, and shortages in various edible commodities, it is crucial to reassess the linear approach to the use and disposal of waste and residues. Instead, we must recognize that the abundant agro-industrial, food-processing, and food-originated residues generated by these activities should primarily be seen as valuable resources containing significant and beneficial compounds, rather than mere waste to be dispose of.

To illustrate the magnitude of the problem, it is important to note that the agricultural sector generates approximately 23.7 million tons of food globally on a daily basis. Inevitably, vast quantities of agro-industrial and food-processing/food-deriving residue streams are already being generated, with projections indicating a further increase.

Various types of solid and liquid wastes generated by agro-industrial and food-producing activities entail a wide array of compounds. These include, but are not limited to, flour-rich waste streams, solid simple sugars such as waste sucrose or glucose utilized in confectionery industries, wastewater with high concentrations of sugars like glucose and sucrose, cheese whey, and solid and liquid wastes from olive oil production, among others. Conversely, lignocellulosic materials stand out as the most abundant and appealing biomass resource globally, offering a cost-effective source of monosaccharides, primarily xylose and glucose. These readily available materials, including woody biomass, grasses, agricultural and forestry residues, process waters rich in lignocellulosic sugars (e.g., spent sulfite liquor, waste xylose mother liquid), spent mushroom substrate, municipal solid wastes, and more, owe their abundance to human activities.

Moreover, additional renewable materials of low or potentially negative cost encompass crude glycerol, a principal byproduct of various oleochemical and industrial processes such as biodiesel production. Hydrophobic compounds or wastewater containing these materials (e.g., fatty acid distillates, used oils, soap-laden waters, etc.), contaminated wastewater from agricultural processes (e.g., greenhouse wastewater), and wastewater from fish farms further contribute to this diverse range of resources.

Enzyme and microbial technologies have much to offer in terms of the treatment and valorization of the aforementioned materials. Microbial products such as organic acids, polyols, enzymes, microbial lipids convertible into second-generation biofuels, and those containing functional polyunsaturated fatty acids, single-cell protein, mushroom carposomes, high-value myco-products, sugar fatty acid esters, polysaccharides, acyl-amino acids, among others, can be synthesized through these methods. Yeasts, fungi, and bacteria cultivated heterotrophically, as well as microalgae and cyanobacteria cultivated autotrophically, mixotrophically, or heterotrophically, represent potential candidates for these processes. Conventional and non-conventional enzymatic processes also play a vital role in the valorization and treatment of these compounds, offering additional avenues for exploration and utilization.

Important Deadlines:

  • Submission deadline: 15 December 2024.

Submission Instructions: Please read the Guide for Authors before submitting. All articles should be submitted online, please select VSI: biotechnological conversions of bioresources on submission. All submissions will undergo a normal peer-review process. Authors should specify the submission into the special issue in the cover letter. All APCs for articles submitted to the journal before 31 December 2026 will be fully waived. Shenyang University of Chemical Technology pays for the publishing costs incurred by the journal.

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