Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


OLI-PHA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 280604
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: Spain

New bioplastic developed

With the help of photosynthetic microorganisms, an EU research project has come up with a novel way to produce a versatile and biodegradable plastic.
New bioplastic developed
Researchers predict that the production of plastics that are biodegradable or made of natural materials – not fossil fuels – is going to increase in coming years. This is because of both consumer demand for environmentally friendly products and the fluctuating price of oil.

The wastewater that the olive oil industry produces offers an unusual option for supplying this demand. Not only does this by-product contain valuable chemicals that can be used elsewhere, it is a hazardous pollutant that's costly to dispose of.

The EU-funded OLI-PHA (A novel and efficient method for the production of polyhydroxyalkanoate polymer-based packaging from olive oil waste water) project has harnessed photosynthetic microorganisms to make a new packaging material from this waste.

OLI-PHA researchers tested the ability of different cyanobacteria and bacteria to grow and produce natural polyesters in treated olive oil wastewater. They then optimised this process for larger scale production and turned the extracted material from cyanobacteria and bacteria into packaging for food and cosmetics.

As a result, the project created versatile, biodegradable packaging that could potentially replace less sustainable materials. It also found a way to clean and use the toxic wastewater generated in the production of olive oil.

The valuable knowledge generated by the OLI-PHA project is now available for further research so the industry can ultimately apply it. This could reduce the amount of waste we produce and our dependence on fossil fuels.

Related information


Biodegradable plastic, wastewater, olive oil, OLI-PHA, packaging
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