SoS|Valor – Sustainable Solutions for the Valorisation of Plant Natural Products and Industrial Waste

SoSValor is an action research project aiming to solve two specific and cross-cutting problems from several sectors of activity such as agriculture, agro-industry, forest, textile, cosmetic and food industry, that seek:

  • for natural sustainable alternatives to the synthetic chemicals they use in their actual processes, and
  • for economically feasible solutions to the residues and by-products they produce.

It is our perspective that these two problems have strong interconnection, and some solutions may lead to the development of new products, technologies, opportunities or activities, contributing to knowledge transfer from academy to the industry and best practices for society.

The major goal of this project is to produce sustainable solutions to specific and relevant problems of agriculture and forestry activities, using a holistic approach to the issue of agro-industrial waste recovery and plant resources exploitation, in an attempt to boost circular economy. This goal will be achieved throughout the study of the availability
of potential added-value natural compounds present in local plants resources (halophytes, dye and invaders plants, as well as aromatic and medicinal plants), and in industrial waste related to agricultural activities.

The natural products that have capture more interest among both the scientific community and general society are biocidal agents (bactericides, fungicides, herbicides, nematicides, etc), bioactive compounds (antioxidants, antiinflammatory, anticancer, etc.), colorants, preservatives, flavourings and fragrances. Whereas some of the listed
categories have more specific applications, such as biocides for agriculture and agro-industrial purposes, others have a wide range of applications in various fields. For example, flavourings, fragrances and colorants may be used for cosmetics, textiles and food products, and bioactive compounds may be used for the production of functional foods and nutraceuticals.

This project is divided into two main action research lines (A and B), which complement each other and contribute to the systematic approach to the problem. Thus, addressing the specific needs of the involved sectors, and based on the previous experience of the research team, the recovery and valorisation of natural compounds will be addressed from several groups of plants:

  • A. Plants and endogenous resources
    • A1- Halophytic plants;
    • A2- Dye and invader plants;
    • A3- Aromatic and medicinal plants

where and the most promising bioactive compounds from these plants will be tested in food matrices, cosmetics and agricultural plagues in the activity A4-Proof of concept

In the second line of research the types of raw materials to be explored are:

  • B. Agricultural/forestry wastes
    • B1-Residues from the food industry
    • B2-Residues from the cork industry