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Pilot-scale extraction

Extraction methods & extracts

Legumes, fungi and coffee residues formed the feedstock for the development of cascading extraction routes.


We developed, optimised and up-scaled protocols for the extraction of proteins, phenolic compounds, chitosan and the fibrous residues.

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Environmentally friendly aqueous extraction(EFAE)

Environmentally friendly aqueous extraction (EFAE) of proteins operates with a neutral phosphate buffer at room temperature. It was successfully applied in pilot-scale with a few hundred kilograms of feedstock processed.

​​Feedstock used: coffee green beans, coffee silverskin, chickpeas

Extracted compound: protein

​Developed and applied by:  SSICA

TRL:  6; Pilot-scale extraction within PROLIFIC

Further reading:

DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2021.695793

DOI : 10.1007/s11947-023-03015-2

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Ultrasound-assisted extraction

Ultrasound assisted extraction (UAE) is a non-classical extraction method that can enhance the extraction efficacy by promoting the rupture of the cell wall of the plant material due to the influence of acoustic cavitation. This facilitates the mass transport from the plant material to the extraction medium.

These features allow shortening the extraction times, using milder temperatures, and reducing solvents.

​​Feedstock used: coffee green beans

Extracted compound: proteins, phenolic compounds

​Developed and applied by:  IRIS

TRL:  4-5; medium and pilot-scale extraction within PROLIFIC

Further reading:

DOI: 10.1007/s11947-023-03015-2

DOI: 10.1007/s11947-022-02907-z

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Subcrital water extraction (SWE)

Subcritical water extraction (SWE) technology is green process for the recovery of polyphenols. It use water as solvent thus avoiding solvents such as ethanol or acetone.

The operating temperature is above boiling point (273 K at 0.1 MPa) and below critical point (647 K at 22.1 MPa) of water, generating significant changes in physicochemical characteristics, such as viscosity, surface tension, and dissociation constant. These effects favour a selective extraction of phenolic compounds at reduced extraction times

​​Feedstock used: coffee green beans, fungi

Extracted compound: phenolic compounds

​Developed and applied by:  CELAB

TRL:  5; Pilot-scale extraction within PROLIFIC



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Enzyme-assisted extraction

Enzyme-assisted aqueous extraction (EAE) was applied to extract the protein fraction from different feedstock. EAE exploits the action of proteolytic enzymes that breaks down peptide bonds, releasing peptides and amino acids that have improved solubility compared to whole proteins.

​​Feedstock used: coffee green beans, coffee silverskin, chickpeas

Extracted compound: proteins, peptides (co-extracted phenolic compounds)

​Developed and applied by:  UNIPR

TRL:  3-4; medium-scale extraction within PROLIFIC

Further reading:

DOI: 10.3390/biom11111571

DOI: 10.1007/s11947-023-03015-2

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Hot alkaline extraction

Industrial processes to obtain chitosan from crustacean shells work at harsh conditions (pH, temperature).

The process developed here worked at less extreme conditions to extract fibres (containing chitin and chitosan polymers) from fungi. Chitosan was obtained in two major steps: deproteination and deacetylation of chitin.

​​Feedstock used: fungi

Extracted compound: chitosan, beta-glucan

​Developed and applied by:  CELAB

TRL:  4-5;  medium-scale extraction within PROLIFIC

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