The core goal of the BIOSEA project is to develop and optimise sustainable, cost-effective methods for the industrial-scale cultivation of 4 selected species of high added-value macro and microalgae for use in the cosmetics, food and animal feed industries.
Europe needs new sustainable, biologically-based raw materials to meet the growing needs of the population and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. In terms of potential market requirements in the EU, the demand for food and fuel is mainly met by imports, supplying 68% of the total protein supply. Aquatic resources and raw materials may represent a solution to these needs. However, the European market for algae is still limited by under-developed production technologies coupled with bio refineries which are not specifically prepared to handle the aquatic biomass.
BIOSEA will contribute to the reduction of European dependence on the importation of raw materials, at the same time as reducing pressure on land resources while opening up new markets and business niches.
The objective of the project is to cultivate on an industrial scale 4 selected species of macro and microalgae for the production and extraction of a minimum of 6 active components (proteins, fatty acids, carbohydrates, carotenoids, lipids and phycobiliproteins) which, due to the origin of the raw material, the methods of extraction, function of the final products and low cost of the materials will result in high added-value cultivated products.
The project will study all the stages involved in obtaining the target active compounds and the validation of their bioactive properties. The processes of separation, extraction and purification of the compounds of interest will be studied to maximise the yield per unit of mass and optimise costs (obtaining a reduction of the production costs up to 55%) with particular attention being paid to achieving a cost-effective scaling up of the process. The role of AITEX within the framework of the BIOSEA project is to perfect the encapsulation the resulting compounds for use in the cosmetics sector.
The duration of the project is 36 months, starting in June 2017 and ending in May 2020.
During the first 9 months of the project, the activities focused on optimising the cultivation of the micro and macroalgae selected. In addition, the cultivated algae were characterised.
The first preservation trials of the algae biomass have been completed, from which important results have been obtained for the development of the project in terms of the transportation and conservation of the raw material necessary for the subsequent stages of the project.
The project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking within the framework of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program of the European Union under contract No. 745622. The project is led by AITEX and has an interdisciplinary consortium composed of 13 research entities and companies from the private sector, from diverse activities such as aquaculture, agriculture, human and animal food, textiles, cosmetics, chemical technology, and macro and microalgae production.
Among the partners in Spain are the National Centre for Food Technology and Safety (CNTA), the Andalusian Aquaculture Technology Centre (CTAQUA), Biopolis SL, Compound Feed Supplements, Dibaq and Soria Natural, who are joined by the participation of VITO and At ~ Sea Technologies-subcontracted companies (Belgium), Tabu (Turkey), IGV and Henkel (Germany) and Van Loon Chemical Innovations and Feyecon (Netherlands).
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