Project Summary

BIOCLEAN – Project R & D conducted in partnership between the University of Minho and, this project aims the use of biosurfactants to develop a range of formulated products and as raw materials for other products incorporating surfactants. The aims of this project are to select new microorganisms that will produce biosurfactants and to improve mircrorganisms which have been previously described for its ability to produce these compounds, and to develop their production processes in order to obtain compounds with different characteristics and activities for use in the formulations for food industry, household detergents and others. This biosurfactants will be subsequently used in various proportions to create new alternative formulations to those currently used in these industries.

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With this project it is expected to achieve a range of innovative products that have features / differentiating activities compared to commercially available products. These new products have a lower environmental impact and can be an alternative to chemical surfactants. In this regard, the development and optimization of biosurfactants production processes promises to revolutionize chemical surfactants, both as regards the possibility of obtaining a wider range of compounds but also allowing a reduction in costs, and these processes are designed based on the use of renewable raw materials.

Projet Ref

The consortium partners


The history of Quimité begins more than a century ago with industrialization based on pyrite , in Barreiro, by value and will of the great industrial Portuguese – Alfredo da Silva.

In 1991 some scattered and obsolete activities became autonomous of Quimigal, EP (which succeeded the Union Manufacturing company after its nationalization), with the formation of a new legal entity called Quimitécnica.

The Quimité we know today is the result from what, with will and ingenuity, was constructed from that entity, after its privatization and sale, in 1993, to the José de Mello group.

The present name – Comércio e Industria Química, SA – was created in 2001 following a daring project of modernization. Since then, the company absorbed the activities of Quicom companies. Lda and EQ Ltd, planned and built three new logistics units: in Aveiras de Cima, Estarreja and Guimarães, expanded the business to Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Angola, Mozambique, expanded the scope of action to water treatments, chemical specialty , logistics services, engineering and installations, and admitted, formed and incorporates dozens of young graduates.

Therefore, the is a chemical distribution company with extensive experience working in the Portuguese and Spanish market.
It has four facilities in Portugal: Guimarães, Estarreja, Aveira de Cima and Barreiro and a human team capable and knowledgeable with over 50% of people licensed in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Food Engineering. It merely provides industrial customers, but of all business sectors. Its offer ranges from commodity chemicals, products for treating water and wastewater, the food ingredients, ingredients for feed industries, chemical specialty detergency, disinfection and treatment of surfaces.

Therefore is a company dedicated to the development and marketing of chemicals with applications in several industries. In addition, the company provides technical support and various additional services related to the application and handling of the different products marketed in between as well as industrial water and wastewater treatment facilities.

The company has its Quality Management System certified to ISO 9001/2008.

Universidade do Minho

UMinho aims to be a University without walls, focusing on the regional, national and international socioeconomic environment”.

UMinho is a research University, engaged in the valorization of the chain Knowledge-Research, Development and Innovation. Amongst the 28 UMinho Research Units evaluated by FCT in 2014, 1 was considered Exceptional, 10 Excellent and 11 Very Good.

The Times Higher Education (THE) 100 under 50 University Ranking 2014 ranked UMinho on the 75th position and the 2014 THE World University Rankings: at 350-400 (UMinho was the best PT). In the CWTS Leiden bibliometric Ranking 2014 UMinho is the Best Portuguese University.”

The Centre of Biological Engineering (CEB) is a research centre that develops its activities on three interdisciplinary thrust areas covering the molecular, cellular and process scales, corresponding to three thematic strands: Industrial and Food Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Environmental Biotechnology and Bioengineering and Health Biotechnology and Bioengineering.

CEB has been awarded with grade of Excellent by FCT. CEB currently aggregates 128 PhD researchers of which 23 are faculty members of UM. CEB is widely recognized in the field of Biotechnology with, in the last 5 years, 921 peer-reviewed papers published (23,3 % in ISI D1 journals), 25 edited books, 172 book chapters and 100 PhD thesis concluded under the supervision of CEB integrated members.

The income budget derived from research projects (including industry research income) and from external funding bodies turns in the average income around 3 M€/year. CEB also supported the formation of more than 13 spin-off and start-up companies and has 16 patents conceded. CEB is widely recognized in the field of Biotechnology and has all the laboratorial facilities available that are relevant to this project.


 Tiago Pacheco

Universidade do Minho

Eduardo Gudiña