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Contenuto archiviato il 2024-05-29

Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates from olive oil mills wastewater


Europe is the prime producer of olive oil, accounting for more than 95% of the worldwide production. Olive oil benefits in human diet are nowadays well known to all the consumers but few people are aware that, despite of its beneficial effects, its production process has intrinsically a huge impact on the environment, since olive oil mills wastewater (alpechin) contains a high quantity of toxic organic and inorganic compounds such as lipids, pectin, xylan and related mono and polysaccharides, mono and oligo polysaccharides, phenolics and salts. Given this huge problem for the environment, it urges to find out a very effective process for the olive oil mills wastewater (OOMW) treatment, guaranteeing a very low impact on the environment. In order to achieve this challenging goal, the POLYVER project proposers will put together their expertise to build up a research project whose main aim is to minimize the environmental impact of olive oil production, drastically reducing the water content in biological polluting substances of about 80%. In addition to such a relevant benefit, the POLYVER project intrinsically will bring a considerable added value to the SMEs. The treatment foreseen is based on a specific use of microrganisms that, digesting OOMW, will produce bioplastic monomers (PHAs) that are biodegradable substitutes of fossil fuel plastics and can be produced from renewable raw materials. Varying the production strains, substrates and co-substrates it will be possible to synthesise polyesters with different monomeric composition resulting in PHAs with engineered physical characteristics and performances. The main innovative elements of the project will be the development of a new, specific and highly efficient bioreactor for the treatment of olive mills waste water, the development of a process for PHAs production by bacteria growing in alpechin amended media, the individuation of the most cost-efficient treatment for the valorisation of bio-polyesters.

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