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20 Nov

Start of FP7 project LIGNOFOOD to produce innovative healthy food ingredients from lignocellulosic material

ISANATUR participates in the European LIGNOFOOD project of Research for the Benefit of Small and Medium Enterprises ( SMEs), a 2 Mll€ project supported by 1,6 Mll€ EC funds running from 2013 to 2015.

On the 25th November, in Madrid Spain, LIGNOFOOD participants gathered at the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry of CSIC to hold the first meeting of this just started project within the Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 606073.

The main objective of the LIGNOFOOD project ( is to offer a competitive solution to the participating SMEs by developing a biotechnological process of production of healthy ingredients from natural resources. For this purpose and thanks to the multidisciplinary consortium of research groups of excellence and biotechnology-based companies, the following targets are expected to be reached:

  • Biotechnological processes optimization and validation for the production of healthy ingredients from lignocellulosic by-products
  • Demonstration of the ingredient functionality on gut health by means of non-invasive assays (in vitro models)
  • Food product development with the functional ingredient ensuring food safety, sensorial quality, and consumer acceptance

The project will enable new production methods of xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) and xylitol from lignocellulosic agricultural by-products as starting raw material. XOS are non digestible components recently revealed to stimulate the growth and/or the metabolic activity of beneficial bacteria in our gut. This feature makes XOS excellent for prebiotic applications, that have promising commercial perspectives of 14% annual market growth, likely associated to the increasing awareness of the relation between diet and health, around 90.0000 tons of production volume, and 296 Mll€ sales merely in Europe.

Not just XOS but also xylitol helps for a healthier diet. Xylitol is a low caloric sweetener suitable for diabetics and mainly used as a sugar replacer. Likewise, xylitol counts with a consumer and food industry growing demand and positive market estimators.

The LIGNOFOOD project participants form an interdisciplinary consortium of Industries, Research and Technological Centres, and Academia from different countries across Europe: Spain, Italy, Turkey, Austria, and The Netherlands

In total, 10 beneficiary partners integrate the project consortium:

  • Isanatur Spain S.L. (Spanish Biotechnology-based SME developing innovative healthy natural ingredients)
  • Envirohemp S.L. (Spanish start-up developing technological solutions for the exploitation of renewable resources through environmentally sustainable processes)
  • Zade Vital (Turkish SME with a long track in vegetable oils production and emerging in the field of food supplements)
  • Biotech Power (Italian Biotechnology-based SME developing technological processes and new formulations of bioactive compounds)
  • Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry (Spanish research group expert in enzyme immobilization techniques to optimize biocatalysts mediated processes)
  • Graz University of Technology (Austrian research group specialized in biocatalysis)
  • TNO (Dutch Research Centre focused on applied food research and other sciences)
  • Selcuk University (Turkish research group of substantial technology and biology expertise)
  • Centre of Innovation and Food Technology from La Rioja (Spanish Technological Centre specialist in food innovation), and the project coordinator

Contactica Innovation S.L., a Spanish R&D consulting company offering solutions to food industries for health improvement and competitiveness advance.