OLEAF4VALUE: Olive leaf multi-product cascade based biorefinery: from an under-used biomass in the primary sector to tailormade solutions for high added value international market applications
OLEAF4VALUE is a 3-year research and innovation action focused on the development a complete valorization system for the olive leaf through a multi-product cascade based biorefinery. 4,5 million ton of olive leaves are produced annually in the world by the olive oil industry, a key industry in southern Europe and along the Mediterranean coast (Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, among others). This recalcitrant biomass represents a problem for both the farmers and the whole olive oil industry, who need to remove it from the fields and the olive oil mills.
This biomass is nowadays burnt in the fields, given to the cattle or, in some cases, combusted to produce energy.
OLEAF4VALUE will set up the basis of a smart value chain based on a disruptive and first-of-its kind concept: Smart Dynamic Multi-Valorisation-Route Biorefinery for the cascade valorisation of the olive leaf biomass.
OLEAF4VALUE will put together a competitive consortium of highly experienced partners devoted to the complete valorization of this new underexploited biomass. The consortium will address all the stages of the value chain: raw material, biorefining, post-extraction technologies, market validation and sustainability assessment. Advanced green extraction and isolation technologies will be used to sequentially separate all fractions and compounds of value, with a zero-waste approach.
Enzymatic biotransformation and nanoencapsulation technologies will be applied to develop tailor made prototypes according to end user market needs from high value sectors: food, feed, health, cosmetic, pharma and chemical industries.
Large companies from these sectors within the consortium will guarantee a good market-oriented approach throughout the project.
The partners of the OLEAF4VALUE project are: Natac Biotech SL (Spain), Oleicola el Tejar Nuestra Señora de Araceli S Coop And (Spain), Ingecor Agroforestal SL (Spain), Innorenew Coe Center Odlicnosti za Raziskave in Inovacije na Podrocju Obnovljivih Materialov in Zdravega Bivanjskega Okolja (Slovenia), Fundacion Cener (Spain), Instituto Politecnico de Braganca (Portugal), Biochemize SL (Spain), Università Degli Studi di Firenze (Italy), NIZO Food Research BV (Netherlands), Martin-Luther-Universitaet Halle-Wittenberg (Germany),
Prof.ssa Maria Camilla Bergonzi (Partner of the project and PI of UNIFI unit) will apply micro/nano encapsulation technologies to improve bioavailability and technological performance of olive bioactive compounds and extracts. The influence of optimized formulations on solubility and permeability of olive bioactive bioproducts will be evaluated using an artificial membrane permeability (PAMPA) assay and Caco-2 cells.