'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