Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - SUB CLEAN PROBIOMAT (Green/clean processing of bioactive materials)

The SUB CLEAN PROBIOMAT project was an early stage training site for researchers at the beginning of their research careers. Nine PhD students from six European countries were trained at six universities all over Europe for three years. Additionally, eight young researchers were trained for shorter time periods, ranging from one up to two years.

The consortium of the SUB CLEAN PROBIOMAT project consisted of six universities. Three were the so-called core universities, namely Maribor, Nottingham, and Bochum, while the others were specialist universities and included Valladolid, Trieste and Budapest. At each core university three long term fellows were appointed for two years. During this time the fellows visited the two other core universities for a short period. This allowed the fellows to learn new techniques and get an overview on the research facilities and possibilities offered by each laboratory. In the course of their PhD this knowledge helped to achieve results that would not have been possible without the interaction. In their third year the fellows went to one of the specialist universities, which was selected so as to be in compliance with their research topics.

The project led to the development of innovative processes for manufacturing products with high added value by exploiting the unique properties of supercritical fluids. The techniques for production of products from bioactive materials encompassed extraction, separation processing of the isolated bioactive materials into useable forms, modelling of processes and measurement of biological activity. The training focussed on the clean - green processing of bioactive substances. New technologies were applied for this task. These technologies, such as enzymatic reactions, immobilisation of biocatalysts, extractions, design of small particles in micro and nano-scale, etc. were based on supercritical fluids.

In the field of biocatalysis, new techniques of enzyme immobilisation were developed, the stability of enzymes in non-conventional environments was studied and reactions in dense gases were performed. Controlled formation of small particles in a clean environment, i.e. avoiding the use of toxic organic solvents, and application to bioactive substances were also developed. The application of the technology for the micronisation and co-precipitation of several natural antioxidants, including carotenes and tea extract, with biopolymers, e.g. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) and starches was studied, producing powders with improved preservation of the substance. Moreover, the application of these processes to produce enantiomerically pure ibuprofen, as well as different polymorphs of this substance, was studied. In this project, an integrated spraying, drying and pulverisation process for gelatine was developed. The resulting product was a dry, free-flowing powder, which still exhibited the unique properties of high qualitative gelatine. Because of the new processing method a completely new gelatine product with unique properties was obtained. Synthesis of bioactive and photocatalytic titanium dioxide was also reported. The extraction of the anthocyanins from different plant materials was investigated as well. Conventional extraction and supercritical fluid extraction were used as separation methods. The plant material was grape marc, which was especially interesting as a source of anthocyanin pigments since it was a by-product of the winery industry.

Preparation of products from bioactive materials required a wide variety of techniques and expertise, which were possessed by no single research institute. These techniques could be covered only by collaboration between all of the training site partners. The results of the project indicated that each of the fellows made a great personal development as a researcher. Great achievements were accomplished regarding the acquisition of complementary skills such as communication, language skills, computer skills, project management, ethics, team building, training on specialised instruments or equipment etc.

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