What we do & How
We develop, validate, scale-up and transfer new green and sustainable processes for the extraction of bioactive compounds and fractionation of biochemical building blocks to achieve better and environmentally friendly products produced and tested at our premises.
We combine "Applied Industrial Research" with "Academia outstanding People and Facilities".
Key areas of expertise
Lines of investigation carried out
Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Developmente of Green Processes for sustainable production
Lignin fractionation and depolimerization
Biochemical building blocks production
Terpenes, limonene, tannins as building blocks for cyclic carbonates
Produsction of new catalysts in form of nanoparticles for higher efficiency
BIOREFINERY AND RESOURCE RECOVERY
Agro-industrial residues valorization
Extraction of bioactive ingredients from natural matrices and microalgae
Optimization of enzymatic preparations
Ultrasonic assisted techniques
Suopercritical CO2 extraction
Subcritical H2O extraction
NaDES – Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents
Green production of bio nanoparticles for environmental and biomedical use
• Degradation of recalcitrant compounds
• Advanced Oxidation Processes
• Materials multiscale modeling
• Microplastics and emergent pollutant treatment
• Nanocellulose to reinforce biopolymers
Dissemination and Exploitation
Organisation of communication plans for bio-based results exploitation
Social, Economical and Environmental analysis
Mathematical Modelling and Simulation
Multidisciplinary Design Optimization
The research activities have been developed in several areas of chemical and biochemical engineering, including heterogeneous catalysis, chemical thermodynamics, enzyme kinetics, nanomaterials and microencapsulated systems. At present, the main research topics are the development of innovative and environmentally friendly technologies for the recovery of value-added products from agroindustrial wastes and microalgae, the degradation of recalcitrant organic compounds by advanced oxidation processes and the green synthesis of metal nanoparticles.
Lignin fractionation is approached through a very cost effective and efficient enzymatic approach
Regarding the recovery of value-added compounds from plant materials and microalgae, new chemical and enzyme-assisted extraction procedures are investigated. The use of industrial wastewaters and other waste residues for the growth of microalgae is another field of active research. Special attention is given to the optimization of process conditions using advanced statistical methods for the design of experiments and the development of mathematical models.
Researches are also being conducted for the development of new functional products for the cosmetic, nutraceutical and food sectors with enhanced antioxidant and antibacterial properties. In this latter area of research, the production of natural honey-based products with anti-quorum sensing properties and broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity is investigated.
Most of the above research activities are carried out through international collaborations. The most important research partners are the Université de La Lorraine (Nancy office), the ILAB (Italian - LatinAmerican Biochemical Group) research group, of which Prof. Zuorro is the Coordinator, and in which researchers from the Universidad Industrial de Santander (Bucaramanga, Colombia), the Universidad Francisco de Paula Santander (Cúcuta, Colombia), the Universidad de Santiago de Chile (Chile), the Universidad de Cartagena, the Universidad de Pamplona and the Universidad Central "Marta Abreu" de Las Villas (Cuba) participate.
Researches are usually industrially driven and run for Companies of market sectors ranging from Food to Feed, from Cosmetic to Nutraceutic and Cosmeceutic, from Special Green Chemicals to Addives for Coating Indtries, from Bioplatics to Bioplymers, from Babies to Elderly formulation, from Agricoltural to Wood, from Biogas to Petrochemistry.
Within Biotechnology area, main contributions are: Multidisciplinary Design Optimisation (MDO), process modelling and simulation, tools for effective decision making and public engagement through the integration of knowledge and decision support frameworks (algorithms)