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Last update: May 2021

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Fractionation of AgroResources and Environment lab

8 June 2020 - A model to simulate the biodegradation during dew retting of fiber-crops

8 June 2020 - A model to simulate the biodegradation during dew retting
Retting of fiber-crop stems after harvesting facilitates the subsequent mechanical extraction of extraction of industrially-relevant cellulosic fibers. A model has been designed to simulate microbial degradation during this bioprocess, which has never been previously modelled.

Dew retting of fiber crops, such as hemp or flax, in the field after harvest promotes the microbial biodegradation of the tissues surrounding cellulosic fibers, which helps preserve the quality of fibers during their extraction and valorization for industry. This bioprocess is currently the bottleneck for plant fiber valorization because it is empirically managed and its controlling factors have not been properly quantified. This work is a first step towards the modelling of the retting process, which has not been previously modelled. The model we propose, BioRETTING, simulates the biodegradation of plant tissues surrounding cellulosic fibers by microorganisms. Their activity is influenced by the chemical composition in plant polymers of the stems, their distribution in plant tissues, as well as temperature and humidity conditions. The construction of the model was based on available knowledge and experimental data. The model will help identify future experimental priorities. This work was supported by INRAE and Reims Metropole within the framework of the MATRICE and RESIST projects. The model program and a tutorial are available here. The model is also implemented in the INRAE Virtual Soil modelling platform to facilitate coupling with other models.

Read: Lashermes, G., Bleuze, L., Recous, S., Voinot, R., Lafolie, F., Chabbert, B. (2020) Multiscale modeling of microbial degradation of outer tissues of fiber-crop stems during the dew retting process. Bioresource Technology 311, 123558.

50 days' free access here.

Contact: Dr Gwenaëlle Lashermes (gwenaë, Dr. Brigitte Chabbert (, Dr. Sylvie Recous (