Nanostructured biofunctional membranes for the valorization of bioderived components from agro-food waste waters

Process waters from agro-food industry are an important source of both reclaimed water and bioderived green chemicals. For example, waters coming from the production of olive oil are reach in biophenols, that can find use as nutraceuticals, antiinflammatory, but also as fine chemical substitutes of oil derived products. In this area, the use of integrated processes based on nanostructured membranes confirmed, on a laboratory prototype scale, the possibility to recover and valorize biofunctional molecules fractions. Simultaneously, water can be purified to the extend of being reused in the prodcutive line. The introduction of biofunctional membranes (i.e. membranes that bear biofuntional properties such as biocatalytic, biosensing, biocide activity, etc.) can promote advances in the process performance in terms of production properties, degradation of contaminants, biofouling control, etc. Biofunctional membranes can be obtained by introducing a biocomponent into the synthetic membrane matrix (biohybrid membranes) or by introducing a synthetic structure that exhibits the boactive property (biomimic membrane). The lecture will focus on the development of biohybrid membranes, highlighting the crucial role of membranes with nanongineered materials and structures to properly heterogenize biomolecules as well as guarantee suitable transport properties thus improving process performance. Case studies realted to the production of biophenols and the degradation of micropollutants will be illustrated.

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