Posidonia is a rich source of carbohydrates, highlighting its cellulosic content, which can be used for a broad range of applications, including as reinforcing elements in biodegradable packaging materials. Our team has developed a method for extracting these cellulosic fractions from Posidonia and using them in a number of applications, including the development of high performance cellulosic aerogels.
The use of residues for biofuel production has been widely explored using a number of initial biomass sources. However, in the case of seaweeds or marine plants like Posidonia oceanica, given their high cellulose content, extraction of this carbohydrate can be advantageous for added-value applications. We have developed a simplified method for extracting this cellulose from Posidonia and converting it into high-performance aerogels with a broad range of potential applications.
Our idea is to valorize the Posidonia residues as a source of cellulose fractions and nanocrystals, which can be then used to produce high-performance aerogels. Aerogels are highly porous materials with excellent sorption capacity, which can be used in a number of fields, including packaging, biomedicine, pharmacy, building or even catalysis. Apart from the simplified cellulose extraction method developed, we have also designed a process which improves the performance of the cellulosic aerogels and provides them with preferential sorption of oil, which also opens up their utilization for oil spilling or water remediation purposes.
Converting a local residue with associated managing costs into a high-value material with a broad range of applications
We are a research team with background in chemistry, pharmacy, food technology, physics, engineering and biology which investigate food components and materials from a multidisciplinary viewpoint. We are part of the Packaging Group from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA) belonging to the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and our main objective is to improve the sustainability of processes and food ingredients/materials, establishing the relationship between structure and functionality needed for its implementation. Specifically, we carry out research related to novel biopolymers for food applications (evaluating them as plastic substitutes for food packaging as well as exploring their potential to improve the technological, nutritional and functional properties of food products), focussing our activities on the valorisation of residues or alternative biomass sources with the aim of improving the sustainability of the food chain in line with current circular economy policies.