Exploring Bio-LUSH and VALUABLE’s Shared Vision for Sustainability


Bio-LUSH is collaborating with VALUABLE, an innovative EU-funded project at the forefront of biomass valorization, as it sets away on an adventure towards sustainability. In this interview, we learn about VALUABLE’s cutting-edge technique, which aims at redefining industries by creating yeast oils as eco-friendly alternatives to fossil- and plant-based products. VALUABLE announces its commitment to technological and commercial viability, highlighting the potential to transform the cosmetics, adhesives, and bio-based chemicals markets.  We uncover the eco-conscious story and discover how this collaboration is paving the path for a greener, more sustainable future.

Sustainability and Waste Reduction: Can you tell us about your approach to using Aspergillus niger for creating sustainable products and reducing waste in industries like cosmetics?

The process developed in the VALUABLE (VALorisarion of fUngAl Biomass using noveL Enzymatic technology) project represents a new type of waste free biorefinery that transforms residual fungal biomass from the citric acid production to valuable chitin / chitin derivatives and a microbial palm oil alternative, for applications in the polymer- and cosmetic industry. Harmful waste streams inside the biorefinery are avoided by the application of enzymatic conversion processes, a complete utilization of the biological material and the recycling of process water in the fermentations. This process, based on locally available resources, avoids the undesirable cultivation of oil crops, long transportation routes of raw materials and thereby significantly reduces the negative factors affecting the environmental footprint of products like cosmetics. 

Simplifying Science: How does VALUABLE’s comic help make complex sustainability topics accessible to everyone? What do you aim to achieve with this approach?

Not only with the comic strip, but also with our first explainer video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD_M_dpe-w0), we are trying to present the idea and the process of the VALUABLE project in a nutshell. By presenting the basic idea and breaking the very complex process down to a few single steps, also non-experts can understand it and in the best case want to know more about the project. So what we are trying to do with this type of info material is to reach out to everyone who is interested in sustainability and bioeconomy in order to make projects like VALUABLE accessible to a larger audience.

Collaboration with Bio-LUSH: How does VALUABLE complement Bio-LUSH’s goals, especially in using less-known biomass for sustainable products?

One of the two main branches of the VALUABLE project is the fermentation of oleaginous yeasts to produce microbial oil. Since the employed yeasts can metabolise a wide variety of sugars and the fatty acid distribution of the generated oils is constantly the same, the fermentation process could also be applied to the residual streams of the BioLush process after the fibre extraction. This would generate an additional benefit for the project, optimise the waste avoidance and thereby support the sustainable utilization of natural resources.

Synergy and Future Collaborations: What opportunities do you see for closer collaboration between VALUABLE and Bio-LUSH, especially in advancing sustainable biomass use and achieving environmental goals?

The VALUABLE fermentation and single cell oil production process could be applied to utilise the sugar rich fraction after the fibre extraction, to further valorise the processed starting material and expand BioLush’s product portfolio. Further, to also diversify the VALUABLE product portfolio, the extracted fungal chitin could be a new raw material source for the production of nanofibers.