Adding value to industrial by-products

Christophe Collet 

Dr Christophe Collet in Scion’s PC2 fermentation laboratory.

Using bacteria to produce bioplastics and other high value products from wood residue, in the context of a biorefinery, is an area of research Dr Christophe Collet will be focussing on at Scion. Christophe recently joined Scion as research leader for industrial biotechnology.

“My background has focused on product development, specifically in areas where value can be added to industrial by-products,” says Christophe.

“Once a product or process has been developed at lab-scale, for example, recovering plasma proteins for pharmaceuticals or producing recombinant enzymes for commercial purposes such as in forensics, we undertake further development at pilot scale before the new process is ready for commercialisation.”

Christophe has worked on a variety of industrial projects from converting dairy sidestream into biofuels; developing enzymes to improve the DNA extraction from animals and bacteria; recovering plasma proteins for pharmaceutical use; and the fermentation of industrial gases into biofuels and chemicals.

Originally from Switzerland, Christophe gained his PhD in environmental science and engineering from the renowned Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). Since 2004, he has been based in New Zealand working for start-up company ZyGEM Corporation Ltd, where he helped develop high value products for use in research, forensic and molecular diagnostics; protein biologics manufacturer ICPBio Ltd; and steel mill flue gas bioprocessing company LanzaTech Ltd, before joining Scion.

“Scion’s industrial fermentation platform is unique in New Zealand. It allows us to work with companies to test approaches to modifying and adding value to industrial by-products. We can conduct experiments from 1L to 100L scale, allowing sufficient quantities for downstream processing into a final product, and facilitating the scale-up and technology transfer of industrial biotechnologies.”

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