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Extract bioactive compounds from new, under-exploited and/or recalcitrant residual bio-based streams for high-value applications


Develop suitable processing schemes to extract and process bioactive compounds from new, underexploited and/or recalcitrant side streams [1].

The scope of this topic includes new, under-exploited and/or recalcitrant side streams from various sources. These sources can be agricultural, food-related, forest-based, marine, aquatic, fish-based, biowaste-based, or any combination of these. Proposals should apply a cascading approach.

The scope of this topic excludes crops cultivated for the specific purpose of producing bioactive compounds.

Proposals must include appropriate pre-treatment steps that do not damage the high-value bioactive compounds in the side stream.

Proposals must also include the necessary processing steps for modifying the bioactives to fit the targeted end-product if needed.

Proposals should aim at a full value chain of bioactive compounds, anticipating market applications. Proposals should therefore include the participation of brand owners to help steer the value chain towards identified or newly emerging market demands.

Proposals must also include considerations about consumer safety and consumer perception of the planned consumer applications. Any potential hazards associated with the developed processes and products should be analysed to check that the products will comply with any relevant EU legislation on chemicals risk management, toxicity and safety.

Proposals must address all the requirements for RIA shown in Table 3 of the Introduction of the 2020 Annual Work Plan.

The technology readiness level (TRL) at the end of the project should be 4-5 and not exceeding 5. Proposals should clearly state the starting and end TRLs of the key technology or technologies targeted in the project.

It is considered that proposals requesting a contribution of between EUR 2 million and EUR 5 million would be able to address this specific challenge appropriately. However, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts

[1] The scope of this RIA topic differs from that of the flagship topic BBI2020.SO1.F3. This RIA topic is about developing new processing schemes to extract/obtain bioactives from recalcitrant side streams that contain bioactives to be utilised in any high-value application. The flagship topic F3 focuses on only marine or aquatic sources and aims at upscaling proven processes to specifically enable production of ingredients for food and feed on a commercial scale. Moreover, the topic differs from similar topics in the past AWPs (e.g. BBI 2018.SO3.D5 and BBI2019.SO3.D3) tackling technological solutions at lower TRL and a broader range of potential feedstocks.

There is a strong continuing interest in obtaining high-value, sustainable, bio-based ingredients from new and alternative sources. These sources include under-exploited, ‘recalcitrant’ (i.e. requiring innovative processes/technologies to handle) side streams containing bioactive compounds with high market potential.

Currently, there is great demand for bio-based bioactive compounds in market sectors such as food, feed, performance chemicals, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. This trend is driven by consumer demand for functional products with ever-better performance, and for ‘natural’ and sustainable products.

Extracting bioactives from diverse sources brings challenges. These challenges include finding appropriate methods for the pre-treatment, handling and processing of raw materials and for properly characterising their diverse bioactive contents. In addition, the extraction processes themselves should be environmentally sustainable and economically viable while simultaneously preserving the functions and qualities of the targeted compounds.

The specific challenge is to develop appropriate processing schemes to extract bioactives from new, under-exploited and/or recalcitrant residual streams so they can be used in high-value-added applications.


  • contribute to KPI 1 — create at least one new cross-sector interconnection in the bio-based economy;
  • contribute to KPI 2 — set the basis for at least one new bio-based value chain;
  • contribute to KPI 8 — validate at least one new or improved processing technology reflecting the ‘TRL gain’ since the start of the project.


  • widen the feedstock portfolio for the selected application(s);
  • improve resource efficiency through the smart use of residual bio-based streams;
  • reduce the amount of bio-based residual streams routed to incineration, landfill or aquatic/other discards;
  • contribute to the EU’s 2050 long-term strategy for a climate-neutral Europe by replacing fossil-based material with bio-based, renewable material.


  • make use of low-cost raw materials;
  • reduce reliance on high-cost and scarce protein-rich resources, such as fish oil and meal.


  • set the foundation for creating new job profiles and additional green jobs when project successful results are scaled up into new value chains operating at commercial level;
  • set the basis for new business opportunities for primary sector actors, thus contribute to rural/coastal development.

TYPE OF ACTION: Research and Innovation action.