Optimal use and valorization of biomass streams from Cichorium
'The overall aim of the CichOpt project is to develop innovative biorefinery processing schemes to turn different underutilized Cichorium biomass streams (multi-input) into fractions with high added value which can be used in a wide range of applications, ranging from food & drink applications over cosmetics to biomaterials (multi-output). We focus on four different crops in the Cichorium genus which are of major economic importance in Europe: industrial chicory grown for inulin extraction, and Belgian endive, Radicchio rosso and Endive, all three grown as leaf vegetables. The biomass from these crops is especially interesting as a feedstock for the bio-economy because they are rich in the following valuable target compounds: dietary fibers (DF) and free sugars (both relevant for food applications, materials), and the bioactive sesquiterpene lactones (SL) and polyphenols (PP) (relevant for food, beverages, cosmetic applications).
- novel integrated biorefinery schemes for processing Cichorium biomass, by-products and waste streams into well-characterized, valuable fractions, striving for a zero-waste approach.
- functional food and drink ingredients enriched in DF, SLs and/or PP that will benefit industry and bring these ingredients to a pre-competitive stage
- a Cichorium derived fraction enriched in SLs and/or PP as bio-active ingredient for cosmetics
- the production of hydroxymethylfurfural starting from underutilized Cichorium biomass is demonstrated in a small demo plant
- a Techno-economic analysis (TEA) and Life Cycle Assesment (LCA) for two of the most advanced products in the project.
- drivers to realize an increase in the global production area of Cichorium crops
- better description and understanding of the diversity of taste-related compounds which can be used to promote segmentation of Belgian Endive, Radicchio rosso and Endive
- targeted knowledge transfer towards a broad stakeholder groups which will further stimulate innovations in the bio-economy of the future