RESEARCH AND COOPERATION:
EcoFuel Laboratories has a research and pilot plant laboratory as well as production capacities that are equipped with state-of-the-art technology including extractors for plant material, formulation reactors, homogenizers, flow-boxes, ultrasonic generators, distillation apparatus, photo-bioreactors with controllable temperature and illumination, equipment for microorganisms cultivation and for work with microbiological material.
The laboratory allows the realization of the necessary optimization experiments for research and the subsequent transfer of technologies into practice. Since 2009, we have been cooperating with leading Czech and foreign research institutions - Institute of Chemical Processes of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Botanical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the Institute of Microbiology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Charles University Hospital Vinohrady and the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. In cooperation with the University of Chemical Technology in Prague EcoFuel provides a background for the professional practice of students in the fields of biotechnology, microbiology, biochemistry and the production of pharmaceuticals.
Our company was awarded as VISIONARY OF THE YEAR 2016 for the development of the Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid production technology using patented new microalgae strain Japanochytrium sp. and for the technological and social benefits of this technology in the food, health and pharmacy sector. Currently, the company owns or co-owns more than 15 patents.
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
The project, supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic within the TRIO program "Nanofibre mesh with the admixture of cannabinoids for the treatment of wounds after extensive surgery", aims at the use of new biocompatible polymers for the formation of nanofiber nets and patches, embedded with cannabis active agents known for their antiinflammatory and antimicrobial effects. These materials are then used for the healing of surface and surgical wounds.
The project supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic within the TRIO program "Methods of nanoencapsulation of bioactive substances for topical use in dermatovenerology" deals with the development of new nanotechnological application forms of active substances, especially cannabinoids and omega-3 fatty acids, for their use in dermatology and treatment of skin diseases.
The aim of the project supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic within the TRIO program "Biotechnology of cannabis cultivation for the production of products with CBD" is the research of new progressive cultivation procedures and selected cannabis cultivars characterized by high content of bioactive cannabinoids, especially cannabidiol (CBD) for their subsequent use in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
The BIOCIRTECH project under the TAČR - National Competence Centers program covers the whole issue of microbial, plant, animal biomass processing using chemical, biochemical and physical processes in order to obtain valuable products with high added value usable in the food, agriculture, processing and energy industries. The key activity of EcoFuel labs includes the isolation of bioactive substances such as cannabinoids or flavonoids by advanced extraction and chromatographic methods.
BIORAF - Biorefinery Research Center of Competence - supported by the Czech Republic's Technology Agency, is a green chemistry project focused on the use and conversion of biomass to high added-value products and alternative energy sources. New food, feed and fertilizers, new generation biofuels, as well as microbial, plant and animal biomass are being acquired thanks to the new proposed refining processes. Bio-refining is a unique way of replacing fossil fuels with a new, sustainable way with minimal impact on the environment, using the full biomass volume. Statutory representative of EcoFuel, Assoc. Prof. Ing. Petr Kaštánek, PhD., is the director of the BIORAF Center, with more than 50 leading Czech researchers.
The Czech-Spanish EUROSTART program project aims at using microalgae to produce Omega -3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), arachidonic acid (ARA) and carotenoid Astaxanthin as cosmetic actives. These active ingredients are then stabilized and encapsulated in liposomal forms and on the basis of their combination are developed cosmetic ingredients useful in the field of premium nutraceuticals and pharma-cosmetics for treatment of specific skin problems.
The focus of an interdisciplinary project supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade within the TRIO program is aimed at the isolation and biotechnological production of chlorophyll-deficient clones of heterotrophically growing microalgae and subsequent biorefining the obtained algae biomass for extraction of carotenes, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates for the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. The procedure is unique due to the use of special clones of microalgae that lacking of chlorophyll which makes feasible the extraction of carotenoids as well as proteins.
The project, supported by the Czech Republic's Technology Agency "Development of biopeletization of seeds by microalgae and symbiotic organisms - applications for agriculture" is focused on modern agricultural biotechnology, using symbiotic microorganisms to reduce the consumption of conventional fertilizers and chemical plant protection products. The main benefit of the project is to use natural nutrients providers such as microalgae, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and symbiotic N-fixating microorganisms, minimize chemical inputs into the soil, and reduce unskilled soil fertilization and improve its quality.
A promising renewable source of oil for the production of 3rd-generation biofuels that do not consume arable land appears to be microscopic algae capable of photosynthetically assimilating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and transforming it into a lipid-containing reservoir. EcoFuel is collaborating on the development of biofuel production processes based on new non-traditional sources of microalgae oil, including the joint project "Separation of oil from wet algae biomass for the production of biofuels of third generation by enzymatically catalyzed transesterification" within the GESHER / MOST bilateral program.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are indispensable in human nutrition for proper brain and eye development and function in children and for cardiovascular health in adults. The commercially available source of Omega 3 - EPA and DHA - is fish oil. Reducing fish populations and rising fish oil contamination by environmental pollutants calls for alternative Omega-3 sources. It is known that some microscopic algae are capable of producing Omega-3. The project "Micro-sources as Prospective sources of omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids and their incorporation in the human food chain", supported by the Czech Technology Agency under the ALFA program, addresses the development of new products - feed supplements for poultry based on micro-algae and new functional foods, such as OMEGA eggs OMEGA chicken.
In the project "Increasing Phytoremediation and Production Capacity of Energy Plants on Marginal and Contaminated Soils through Endophytic and Mycorrhizal Symbiots" supported by the Czech Republic's Technology Agency within the ALFA program, new inoculants consisting of endophyte microorganisms are developed and tested. The focus of the project lies in the isolation of natural populations of bacterial and fungal endophytes in contaminated and poor localities, their screening, characterization, verification of their activities and subsequent use in inoculation mixtures for plant protection and promotion.
BIORAF core team: