Sheng Wu Gong Cheng Xue Bao. 2022 Nov 25;38(11):4283-4310. doi: 10.13345/j.cjb.220584.
Plant biomass represents a vast resource of carbon. In China, it is estimated that 1 billion tons of biomass is available each year. The conversion of these biomass resources into bioethanol or other bio-based chemicals, if fully commercialized, may reduce at least 200 million tons of crude oil import. Therefore, bioethanol and bulk chemicals are the core components of the biomanufacturing using plant biomass as carbon sources. Since the foundation of Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (TIB, CAS), we have proposed a strategy of “two replacements and one upgrade”. Utilizing renewable carbon resources instead of non-renewable petrochemical resources to produce bulk chemicals is included in our strategy. It is a long-term effort for TIB to develop plant biomass biomanufacturing to produce renewable chemicals. Continuous and systematic research was carried out in these two fields, and significant progress has been made in the past 10 years since the foundation of TIB. Here we review the progress of TIB in this field, mainly focusing on fungal system, including the mechanism of cellulose degradation by filamentous fungi and the strategy of consolidated bioprocessing of biomass. Based on this, malic acid, fuel ethanol and other bulk chemicals were produced through one-step conversion of biomass. Besides, the commercial processes for production of bulk chemicals such as succinic and lactic acid from renewable carbon resources, which were developed by TIB, were also be discussed. These examples clearly demonstrated that bulk chemicals can be obtained from biomass instead of from petroleum. Research on plant biomass biotransformation and renewable chemicals production in TIB has provided an alternative route for the development of low-carbon bioeconomy in China, and will contribute to the goal of carbon neutralization of China.