Biovalorization Of Olive Mill Wastewater To Microbial Lipids And Other Products via Rhodotorula Glutinis Fermentation

Project: Research

Project participants


Olive mill wastewater (OMW) is a significant by-product of the food industry of the olive oil producer countries in Mediterranean basin, with a high environmental impact, when not appropriately treated. However, at the same time OMW is rich in organic compounds, which can either be used directly after extraction, or valorized via biocatalytic processes. RHODOLIVE suggests an innovative circular bioeconomy approach for the valorization of this side-stream of the food industry, by treating the OMW with a non-conventional yeast, in order to accumulate and produce microbial lipids, biophenols and carotenoids, which will be used in the development of functional food products.
To be able to fulfill the goals of RHODOLIVE, a multidisciplinary approach is adopted, that harmonically utilizes the know-how of different fields. Six different lands are participating in our consortium, several of them already facing the challenge of the treatment of OMW, as olive oil producing countries. The partners participating have complementary expertise so that a holistic approach to the valorization of OMW is
possible. More specifically, DÜZEN Biological Sciences Research and Development and Production Co. (DÜZEN, Turkey) will provide the know-how of the fermentation of R. glutinis that accumulated since 2009, in their collaboration with Ankara University. A pilot scale bioreactor (30 L) will be installed near the Laleli olive oil company (owned by DÜZEN) in Balikesir, to perform the preparative fermentation and the optimisation studies. The studies will focus on the yeast biomass and several bioproducts of the fermentation, namely lipids, biophenols (such as luteolin) and carotenoids (β-carotene). The National Institute of Chemistry in Slovenia will contribute their expertise in the development of “green” extraction systems for the purification of the aforementioned products from the delivered biomass. University
of Kassel (UniKassel, Germany) will use enzymes to transform the isolated phenolics, to improve their organoleptic properties. The final isolated biocompounds and the biomass will be used from Asociación para la Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación del sector Agroalimentario (AIDISA, Spain), which will perform studies on their implementation in food products. In parallel, to minimize the environment impact even further, Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l'energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA, Italy) in collaboration with Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany) will identify fungi and algae that can further degrade the effluent of the fermentation, while via proteomic and metabolomic studies novel nutraceutical compounds will be identified from these organisms, that will increase the impact of the developed circular bioprocess. In parallel to this chain of delivery, University of Latvia will provide an insight on
the metabolic pathways of R. glutinis with their expertise on metabolism modeling. This study will provide constructive feedback to improve both the fermentation, by identifying the bottlenecks and trying to surpass them with changing the fermentation parameters, and the strain, by producing (in collaboration with UniKassel) novel improved strains of R. glutinis that could later be used to further increase the titer, to
establish a sustainable bioprocess.
Though this integrated treatment of OMW we envision the sustainable and environmentally friendly bioprocess that will provide a competitive niche in food industry. RHODOLIVE will be performed in industrial related environment, using pilot-scale bioreactor, while all the subsequent steps will be in preparative scale. Aim of RHODOLIVE is to develop a bioprocess for providing industrial synergy and
contributing to a circular bio-economy and reducing the carbon footprint.