ABACUS gathers 2 large industries, 3 SMEs and 4 RTOs. It aims at a business-oriented and technology-driven development of a new algal biorefinery, thereby bringing to the market innovative algae-based ingredients for high-end applications, spanning from algal terpenes for fragrances to long-chain terpenoids (carotenoids) for nutraceuticals and cosmetic actives.

One key objective of ABACUS is to obtain more than 10% photosynthates of targeted terpenoids. For this purpose, ABACUS selects and optimizes unique algae strains from 4 large culture collections owned by project's partners.

Moreover, ABACUS focuses on optimizing cultivation steps and mastering production of target products by online monitoring and automated control of photobioreactors with the development of specific sensors for terpenes and for the parameters relevant to terpene's production (light, PO2, PCO2, nutrients). ABACUS investigates the fractionation steps to provide green low-cost downstream processing with a view to reduce operational expenses of the whole production line. Life cycle analysis and technical-economic analysis are fundamental guidelines of ABACUS's developments to ensure that technologies and products are economically and environmentally sustainable.

Applicability of targeted ingredients is assessed by the industrial partners (SMEs and large industries with established access to markets) considering cosmetic and nutraceutical applications.

ABACUS aims to demonstrate biorefining processes allowing valorizing up to 95% of the algal biomass into high value ingredients and by-products. EU standards and market regulations associated to innovative bioprocesses and new ingredients are reviewed in order to demonstrate the acceptability of the ABACUS biorefinery.

ABACUS key advantage lies in its business-oriented workplan, gathering key players along the whole product development chain and incorporating most-advanced technologies for efficient growth and fractionation of microalgae.

This project has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 745668.


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Interview of the project coordinator, Jean-François Sassi