Grant recipient

Johan Larsbrink

Discovering biological tools for conversion of bark and its extractives into new products
Grant amount: DKK 9.999.861

Tree bark is a renewable resource produced in huge amounts every year, but it is today of low-value and poorly used. It is today typically burnt, though its high moisture and ash make this inefficient, and the bark’s different structure from regular wood also makes it unsuitable for regular pulping. The bark contains a high proportion of defensive compounds, known as extractives, which are generally toxic and protects the tree against attacks. The idea of this project is to enable biological conversion of the extractives into novel products that can replace fossil alternatives used today. However, there is virtually no existing knowledge on how bark is deconstructed in nature, which prevents such developments. We will generate the necessary knowledge by following bark degradation, and use identified enzymes and microorganisms to valorize bark, its extractives, and help mitigate material losses in industry.

Johan Larsbrink
Associate Professor, Ph.D.
Life Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology