CURCOL - Curcumin based sustainable Colours


Project Summary

The Interreg NWE project CurCol aims to demonstrate economic potential for the production chains from regionally produced plants to colourants in packaging. The project assesses three pilots for colourant production and application in plastic and paper packaging, by defining barriers, business cases and action plans. The focus of CurCol is on the yellow natural colourant Curcumine.

 

Europe absorbed approximately 87 million tons of packaging waste per year. (Industrial) composting is often used for biobased packaging materials, such as PLA. Non-biodegradable synthetic colourants are released during composting. Many contain toxic components that accumulate in the environment. When recycling paper, these colourants also end up in wastewater. We can prevent this by using natural colours. Project partners from Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands join the CurCol project to reach this.

Transition to curcumine colours

The few available biodegradable colourants do not meet the quality criteria, so that the packaging industry cannot use them now as an alternative to fossil-based substances. Curcumine, a yellow natural colorant, is already used in food and pharmaceuticals. Wide application is hampered, mainly due to poor UV stability. Recent research shows that it is possible to improve UV stability and generate other colors like red and blue. CurCol continues this research.

Long term

The aim of the project is:

  • The valorisation of biobased dyes in biodegradable packaging,
  • introduction of a valuable crop in the greenhouse industry
  • and identification of new supply chains,
  • signaling growth in jobs and economic activity.

On the long term new knowledge and transnational partnerships support the transition to a circular and biobased economy. CurCol focuses on packaging, but application in, for example, textiles and cosmetics is also possible.

 


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Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Stichting Avans 13 Professor Cobbenhagenlaan
Tilburg
5037 DA
Netherlands
b.koebrugge@avans.nl www.avans.nl
Name Contact Name Email Country
Provinciaal Proefcentrum voor de Groenteteelt Oost-Vlaanderen vzw Saskia Buijsens saskia@pcgroenteteelt.be Belgium
Centexbel Isabel De Schrijver ids@centexbel.be Belgium
Rubia 100% Natural Colours Rudolph de Jong rudolphdejong@rubia-nc.om Netherlands
Athlone Institute of Technology Margaret Fournet mfournet@ait.ie Ireland
Aachen Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials e.V. Yvonne van der Meer yvonnevandermeer914@gmail.com Germany
DeltaQ T/A Quality Additives Patrik Rohrer patrik@deltaq.ie Ireland
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster Bodo Philipp bodo.philipp@uni-muenster.de Germany

News


Enrichment of Curcumin-degrading Bacteria

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Investigation of the biodegradability of the colorants derived from the CurCol project is a major factor for sustainability. To achieve an overview of how the colorants are biodegraded and which intermediates are formed, a closer look at the whole degradation pathway is helpful. Therefore, partners from the University of Münster are looking at the microbial degradation of the natural colorant curcumin as a proof of principle. Read More

Pregermination lances yield of Flemish bio turmeric

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In the context of the Interreg Northwest Europe project CurCol, PCG investigates the regional cultivation of the turmeric plant for coloring purposes. On April 21 2021 pregerminated turmeric rhizomes were planted in a greenhouse in Kruisem, Flanders at the headquarters of PCG (Proefcentrum voor Groenteteelt). The object of this trial was to obtain a more uniform and qualitative yield than the first trial in 2020. Read More

Successful pilot aeroponic turmeric cultivation in Flanders

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In the context of the Interreg Northwest Europe project CurCol, PCG investigates the regional cultivation of the turmeric plant for coloring purposes. PCG built a pilot aeroponic installation. The empty aeroponic installation was filled (at the top) with a cocomat and coco coir dust. On 19 May 2021, pregerminated turmeric rhizomes were planted in the substrate and they were covered with clay grains (to prevent the substrate from drying on top). The object of this trial was to test the aeroponic cultivation of turmeric in Flanders. Read More

Turmeric Coloured Straws Adding Spice to Sustainability

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AIT is playing a lead role in the EU Intereg NWE CurCol project, developing biobased colourants for biopolymer products. The spice turmeric is used. Yes, it’s the same one you use to cook, with its intense orange-yellow colour. The Curcol project is cultivating and chemically modifying cucurmin and at AIT we are incorporating it into polymers as a biocolourant. As curcumin is a food source, it is both bio-sourced and bio-degradable. The turmeric plant from which the curcumin is extracted has a low cultivation intensity and is an ideal candidate as a colourant for biopolymers. Read More

Environmental impact curcumin

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The work on sustainability assessment of curcumin is currently being conducted by analyzing the environmental impacts of curcumin at different stages of its life cycle (extraction, production, use, end of life). The results of this research highlight the environmental and health concerns and challenges of using curcumin as a biobased dye. This research is led by the AMIBM in cooperation with AIT and University of Münster. Read More

Stabilization of curcumine in bioplastics

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Two biodegradable polymers, i.e. a starch-based polymer and PLA, were selected to study the UV stability of curcumine in a plastic matrix. Curcumine is known as an unstable substance when exposed to UV. In order to improve its stability, two routes were investigated: 1) the use of stabilizers (both natural and synthetic ones) and 2) the modification of curcumine to tune its color but also its stability. The latter step was performed by Avans Hogeschool. Read More

Bio turmeric growing in Flemish greenhouse

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In the context of the Interreg Northwest Europe project CurCol, PCG investigates the regional cultivation of the turmeric plant for coloring purposes. On April 21 2021, turmeric rhizomes were planted in a greenhouse in Kruisem, Flanders at the headquarters of PCG (Proefcentrum voor Groenteteelt). After a successful test in 2020, this new trial was set up to optimize the cultivation of turmeric in the Northwest region of Europe. Read More

Pilot aeroponic turmeric cultivation in Flanders

Posted on

In the context of the Interreg Northwest Europe project CurCol, PCG investigates the regional cultivation of the turmeric plant for coloring purposes. In May 2021, turmeric rhizomes were planted in an aeroponic pilot in Kruisem, Flanders at the headquarters of PCG (Proefcentrum voor Groenteteelt). This trial is set up as a proof-of-concept aeroponic turmeric cultivation trial. Read More


Events


Natural colorants for bioplastics

, Online

Did you know that we produce about 87 million tons of packaging waste per year in Europe? The good news is that a part of this is made of bioplastics that is recyclable or biodegradable. The bad news is that these processes still release non-biodegradable and often toxic synthetic colorants. Can we counter this by using natural colorants? Yes! Join our webinar on the 20th of April and learn more!
Read More


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