Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - BIOFERM (Advanced manufacture of industrial bio-products by activated fermentation process)

Bioreactors are widely implemented in the industrial sector, such as in the food and pharmaceutical industries, biotechnology, and municipal wastewater treatment plants. However, relevant legal restrictions in the European Union hinder innovative applications. Moreover, the fermentation industry lacks expansion possibility due to the associated high investment costs. Hence, the necessity for compact and cost-efficient biological fermentation systems is evident.

The aim of the BIOFERM project was to apply a modified bypass ultrasound system in fermentation processes that were in high demand from the biotechnology, food processing and pharmaceutical sectors. An interdisciplinary approach was implemented to determine the most cost-effective combination of advanced ultrasound treatment technology with biological fermentation for optimal biomass activation. The developed equipment was based on a simple, universal design, in order to facilitate production at an affordable cost for various exploitation scales, ranging from the laboratory to industrial plants.

The project was structured in five distinct, yet interrelated, work packages (WPs), which focused on system specifications, laboratory tests, process integration, field tests and exploitation, and dissemination of the proposal. Firstly, the requirements of the system in accordance with the end-user needs and the functionality and characteristics of its components were identified. The laboratory tests were carefully planned based on a strategy that was formulated by the project partners. In addition, criteria for the scale-up of the process and its integration in working prototypes were identified. The utilised ultrasonic irradiation was optimised and a series of recommendations were provided regarding the control of any ultrasonic loop. A prototype was subsequently constructed and evaluated through a series of field tests.

The proposed innovation appeared to be fully operational. The implementation of ultrasonic irradiation in the early exponential phase of wine fermentation had a positive effect on the process, mainly on its duration and on the final sugar content of the product. In addition, the technology appeared promising for applications in waste oil and wastewater treatment, fish farming, and food and beverage production. Therefore, negotiations towards the commercialisation of BIOFERM results were already in progress at the time of project completion.

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