O4S (=Organic for Surfactants) has been primarily designed to address a critical necessity of the European Natural Cosmetic Sector which is lacking a sustainable source of surfactants (Surface Active Agents) that can be considered natural and are of certified organic origin to meet the growing market demands. This development will provide the natural cosmetic sector with an alternative to replace the current use of chemically-derived surfactants from oleo-chemical feedstocks. One of their main applications is in personal hygiene products representing 40% in volume of the cosmetic ingredients used in the EU. This work will optimize the production of natural bio-surfactants by fermentation to achieve industrial efficiency and economic yields by using organically certified sources (e.g. post harvest loses by-products from primary process).
The proposed work offers an opportunity to achieve the full utilization of organically certified raw materials increasing the efficiency of the European Organic Farming Systems. Scientific objectives are:
- To investigate supply of raw materials from waste streams or by-products to lower the initial costs.
- To develop scientific knowledge on the interdependencies of the various process parameters and substrate properties.
- To establish a database of compound characteristics, stability and performance for suitable applications. Further, the overall technical objectives are to define the characteristics of the product to meet the organic certification standards and the performance requirements for their application in the natural cosmetic industry. This will be followed by the specification, optimization and scale-up of an appropriate industrial bio-process for bio-surfactant production (up to 1 m3 to 10 m3) by developing an integrated fermenting and in-situ removal system. Further, a technology platform for product information, formulation and applications will be created for the benefit of the SME-AG members.