CTBE’s infrastructure is dedicated to developing projects for external users, in-house R&D, research in partnerships with public or private institutions, and technical training. The laboratory hosts seven major sets of laboratories/facilities, listed below:
Molecular Physiology Laboratories (LFM)
Plant Physiology, Metabolomics, Microscopy, Computational Biology and E-Science are the different disciplines and techniques tackled at the LFM. The list of equipment includes devices to perform UPLC-MS, GC-MS and HPLC to answer the questions associated with the plant metabolome; growth and Scholander chambers; an IRGA; microscopes; and a computer station dedicated to explore the issues of plant physiology. LFM comprises the Metabolomics Laboratory (LabMET), an opened facility available to external users.
Agricultural Laboratories (LAG)
Infrastructure dedicated to develop and test agricultural machinery prototypes, right next to a greenhouse and plant growth support laboratories. In addition to this set of facilities, CTBE professionals perform experiments in sugarcane production fields. LPA develops machinery needed for the implementation of low impact mechanization system in the cultivation of sugarcane. This project aims to reduce the machinery traffic on the sugarcane plantations and increase soil quality and sugarcane productivity. To do so, a Controlled Traffic Structure (ETC) has being under development. The first prototypes of the base-machine and harvest fronts were tested in the field in 2013.
Processes Development Laboratories (LDP)
Dedicated to the study of physicochemical processes, aiming at process validation and the development of new routes that lead to technology transfer. LDP also includes an Analytical Center and performs several routine analytical protocols related to biomass processing. Processing of lignocellulosic biomass (pretreatment), physicochemical analysis, liquid and gas chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance are some of the processes and techniques studied at LDP. Click here for further information about the LDP open facility.
Bioprocesses Development Laboratories (LDB)
This facility comprises microbial breeding, fermentation, and bio-products recovery labs. The LDBs also comply with quality certification in biosafety to work with risk class 1 GMOs. They contains a sizable number of automated bioreactors at different scales (60 l to 20 ml), reactors for enzymatic hydrolysis (100 to 1,000 ml), an anaerobic chamber, and an automated system for tangential filtration. Additional devices allow monitoring of microbial processes, such as viscometers, gas analyzers, MIRs, microscopes, among others.
Click here for further information information about the LDB opened facility.
Molecular Biotechnology Laboratories (LBM)
The LBM is dedicated to exploratory and ethanol-driven research with a systems biology approach, focusing on genomics and sequencing of nucleic acids, high-performance, and macromolecules analysis. It comprises several devices, such as a MiSeq, HiSeq, Sanger sequencer, and Real Time PCR, in addition to a biosafety level II lab. LBM comprises the Biosafety Level 2 Laboratory (NB2), the Computacional Biology and Evolutionary Systems Laboratory (BCE), the Macromolecules Laboratory (LAM) and High throughput Sequencing and Robotics Laboratory (NGS). The last two are facilities also available to the external public.
Pilot Plant for Processes Development (PPDP)
A unique infrastructure used to verify and demonstrate the robustness and stability of technological routes of ethanol production and other biomass-derived compounds, on a semi-professional scale (up to 300 liters). PPDP is equipped to validate techno-economic indicators and sustainability processes that will lead to a successful bench scale. Consequently, scaling-up risks can be minimized, bottlenecks can be predicted, and processes and investment estimates (capital and operation) can be optimized. This facility is largely automated and equipped with sensors for complete characterization, in terms of mass-energy balance. Click here for further information about the PPDP open facility.
Virtual Sugarcane Biorefinery (VSB)
A computer simulation tool that evaluates the integration of new technologies – at agricultural, industrial, and usage phases – into the production chain of sugarcane and other biomasses, considering the three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. The production of cellulosic ethanol (second generation) products derived from green chemistry, new agricultural sugarcane management, different marketing strategies, and the use of ethanol as biofuel are examples of technologies under evaluation at the VSB.
Click here for further information about the VSB open facility.