Sustainable Exploitation of bio-based Compounds Revealed and Engineered from natural sources​​ 

The SECRETed project proposes the development of novel molecules by the combination of biosynthetic genes of amphiphilic compounds, biosurfactants and siderophores, produced by marine and extremophilic microorganisms. Biosurfactants are compounds with surface-active nature tendency to adsorb at interfaces, while siderophores have the ability to chelate and transport Fe3+ ions. New-to-nature hybrid compounds with tailor-made properties can be created through exchange of their hydrophobic and hydrophilic chemical parts.

To do so, an iterative procedure following the Design-Build-Test-Learn methodological steps is used to produce new microbial strains that support the selected genetic elements and satisfy sustainable industrial processing solutions. The new-to-nature biosurfactants and amphiphilic siderophores are produced via fermentation and tested as antitumor agents, in coacervation and nano-encapsulation methods for the agrochemical, cosmetic, nutritional and pharmaceutical industry, in medicines based on gene therapy by protecting RNA molecules, and/or in diagnostic or therapeutic applications. New products management will cover the development of engineering, R&D and operational aspects as well as marketing, supply chain and legal issues.

ACTIVITIES of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

  • Advising on and validation of lab-scale fermentation process for biosurfactants and siderophores production. 
  • Advising on and validation of lab-scale purification process for biosurfactants and siderophores. 
  • Advising on and validation of analytical methods for the detection and quantification of selected biosurfactants and siderophores. 
  • Process optimization and scale-up towards pilot scale production including 150 L fermentations; upscaled purification processes and delivery of end products to end users. 
  • WP leader of WP6. 



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research innovation programme under Grant Agreement number: 101000794.