Benign cascade extractive biorefinery for converting agri-food side streams into high-value polyphenolic bioactives and functional fibres for pharma, cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, and food products (PHENOLEXA).

PHENOLEXA aims to unlock the potential of polyphenols-rich agri-food side streams to procure bioactive compounds of high value via the development of cascade smart biorefinery.  

According to Eurostat, the agricultural sector is by far the biggest producer of the residual biomass in Europe, annually generating ca. 400 million tonnes of dry agricultural waste. This residual biomass is usually either utilized for low value applications (compost or animal feed) or must be deactivated to be safely disposed. On the other side, this residual biomass is highly rich in various bioactive compounds (oils, fatty acids, polyphenols, proteins) that could be used to improve human health and wellbeing. Most often, this resource is lost for high-value applications due to the lack of comprehensive technology to effectively extract and preserve these bioactives. Among the natural biobased compounds, polyphenols is the biggest class of bioactives with a range of beneficial properties for human health which have not be utilized for their full potential. PHENOLEXA project proposes to unlock the potential of polyphenols-rich agri-food side streams (olive, grape shoots and leaves, chicory, and onion residues) to procure bioactive compounds of high value via the development of cascade smart biorefinery which combines pre-treatment of the biomass with benign environmentally friendly green solvents extraction technology. PHENOLEXA will focus on the processing of several types of agri and bio waste to create a pool of new functional polyphenolic bioactives with the tuned functionality (anticancer, antiviral, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory) whereas the remaining fibres and colorants will be utilised in functional foods. PHENOLEXA will demonstrate the technology of the bioactive ingredient’s procurement at TRL*4/5 and will create lab scale prototypes of cosmetic, nutraceutical, pharma, and functional food products with their proved efficacy by the end of the project. PHENOLEXA will also validate the techno-economic feasibility and environmental sustainability of the proposed biorefinery.

The PHENOLEXA project will be carried out with 12 partners from 8 European countries over a period of three years.

*Technology Readiness Level

EPC is responsible for all internal and external communication as well as dissemination activities and materials throughout the project and provides a coherent framework for communication actions.  

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