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The project

The project

The project

Contributing to the Bio-based Economy: The WoodZymes project covers the entire value chain from forest biomass (hardwood and softwood) to phenolic and sugar-derived equivalents of fossil-derived chemicals for the manufacture of medium-density fibreboard (MDF), polyurethane (PU) insulation foam and bleached paper, through the transformation of underutilised lignin and hemicellulose fractions extracted from pulp mills with tailor-made extremophilic enzymes.

The project


The WoodZymes project aims to provide the wood industries with «wood transforming enzymes» able to work in the extreme operation conditions (i.e. extremozymes) required to remove or modify hemicelluloses and recalcitrant lignin protecting cellulose in the plant cell wall.

To achieve this goal we will develop tailor-made extremozymes tolerating the extreme conditions of pH and temperature in wood processing, to selectively valorise underutilised lignin and hemicellulose fractions, providing high-value bio-equivalents of petroleum-derived chemical building blocks.

WoodZymes illustrates the potential of extremozymes in the global bio-based economy, contributing to the sustainability and competitiveness of cellulose and board and polyurethane manufacture, and establishing a direct link between the pulp and wood industrial sectors. Current trends show that there is an increasing demand for bio-based products worldwide, aiming to reduce petro-chemical products and non-renewable materials used nowadays in many applications, especially in the building and furniture industry.

The feasibility of this ambitious project is based on a strong European consortium formed by world-leading companies of the pulp & paper, fibreboard manufacture and insulation materials sectors, a biotech SME commercializing extremophilic enzymes and several research institutes and technology centres of the wood, cellulose, lignin and enzyme sectors. To know more about the WoodZymes team visit the section About Us.

The project



To develop extremozymes adapted to industrial operation conditions (including high temperature and pH) by screening and protein engineering, to be applied as biocatalysts in the wood conversion sector.


To use the developed extremozymes for the production of lignin-derived phenols and hemicellulose-derived sugars from underutilized side streams of hardwood and softwood kraft pulp mills, followed by chemical characterization of the obtained products.


To obtain new medium-density fibreboards and polyurethane materials by using lignin-based resin precursors and phenols, respectively, and to use hemicelluloses-derived sugars as papermaking additives.


Evaluation of the technical, environmental and socio-economic feasibility of the previous objectives, including market requirements, waste management, and life-cycle assessment/life-cycle costing analyses.