Biorg4WasteWaterVal+: Bioorganic novel approaches for food processing waste water treatment and valorisation: Lupanine case study

Project presentation

Carolos Afonso 

Carlos Aberto Mateus Afonso

Executive Coordinator 
Frederico Castelo Alves Ferreira

Projects  Partner and Institution:

Carlos Afonso*, iMed/FARM-ID/Faculty of Pharmacy/Universidade de Lisboa
Frederico Ferreira*, iBB/IST-ID/Instituto Superior Técnico/Universidade de Lisboa
Francesca Malpei*, Politecnico di Milano
Michail Koutinas*, Cyprus University of Technology
Thomas Schäfer*, Basque Centre for Macromolecular Design & Engineering , Basque Excellence Research Centre
Dina Bastos*, A Tremoceira Estrela da Piedade
Nuno Maulide* (collaborative partner), University of Vienna
Sades Olive (collaborative partner)

Key words: water saving-reuse-recycling; Added value products; Food industry processing; Membrane separations; Microbial-organic processes

Food processing industry uses a large volume of fresh water to deliver safe food for humanity, which is obtained from public water providers or ground and spring water sources. The resulting brackish wastewater is often disposed of in public sewers or using different suboptimal solutions. The food processing industry is comprised of several factories of small/medium size, calling for a modular technological solution able to be quickly implemented at the companies site. In this project, novel separation processes using low energy and chemicals at low cost will be developed based on novel membrane processes and adsorbers capable of purifying the water for in-situ recycling at zero cost for the company. A far reaching concept is suggested in which alkaloids are isolated and converted into building blocks of value for pharmaceutical and chemical industries, compensating for water detoxification costs. New biological and chemical tools will be developed for conversion of alkaloids into such added value compounds. Lupanine is used as a particular example to illustrate this case.

Project structure



WP1: Consortium Management, CAfonso (FF-UL)
WP2: Process and separation design and validation (FMalpei, POLIMI)
WP3: Biological valuation of isolated fractions (MKoutinas, CUT)
WP4: Chemical valuation of isolated compound. (CAfonso FF-UL)
WP5: Cost effectiveness assessment and water qualification (DBastos, TEP)
WP6. Evaluation of the concept beyond the Lupanine case study (FFerreira, IST-ID/UL)
WP7- Results dissemination and exploitation (C.Afonso, FF-UL)


• 6 publications • 2 patents • 2 workshops • An educational case
• 5 young researchers hired • 2 PhD and 4 MSc • Internships
• 1 pilot plant scale operation • Online information
• Economic assessment of the lupanine water detoxification case study
• A preliminary information on alkaloid water detoxification

References coordinator and  leaders of  each WP:

Coordinator: Carlos Afonso (iMed/FARM-ID/FF/UL)
Executive Coordinator: Frederico Ferreira (iBB/IST-ID/IST/UL)
WP leaders: Carlos Afonso, WP1, 4, 6 (iMed/FARM-ID/FF/UL); Frederico Ferreira, WP6 (iBB/IST-ID/IST/UL); Francesca Malpei, WP2 (Politecnico di Milano); Dina Bastos, WP5 (A Tremoceira Estrela da Piedade), : Michail Koutinas, WP3, (Cyprus University of Technology); Thomas Schäfer T2.2 (Basque Centre for Macromolecular Design & Engineering); Nuno Maulide, T4.2 University of Vienna (collaborative partner)

Contact Point for  Communication/Dissemination activities:

Carlos Afonso, assisted by FMalpei, MKoutinas and FFerreira

Contact Point for Open Data/Open Access activities:

Michail Koutinas

Picture of the research team:

 Biorg team

Updating the Water JPI SRIA

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WWater JPI SRIA 2.0ater JPI SRIA 2.0

This publication sets out specific RDI priorities or areas where RDI measures are highly recommended within five main themes. It will be implemented during the period 2016-2019.


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An Introduction to the Water JPI SRIA

Short version of the Water JPI Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda.
Read more about the identified research priorities for the future.


Water JPI key achievements 2011-2016

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