SILK PLUS: revalorisation of the by-products of the sericultural chain in the cosmetics and food fields.
The project SILK PLUS originates from the the need of the silk chain for new applications apt to give a higher added value to the current regional production. In particular, the project focuses on the recovery and re-use of the silkworm pupae (chrysalides) coming from cocoons unfit to the reeling process, therefore giving a further economic value to a by-product.
The project, which started in the second half of 2019, will finish within April 2021 and is funded by the Veneto Region through the Program POR FESR 2014-2020.
Through a series of activities of research and innovations jointly carried out by research institutions and private companies, the project SILK PLUS will allow to define and test a pupa processing system with the aim of obtaining oil and meals. The process, differently from the state of art, will enclose the automation of the phase of cocoon opening and pupa extraction, so that this activity will be simpler and more effective. The machinery developed for this phase will be patented and will be available to be acquired by the companies that will want to use cocoons of grade 2 for food and cosmetics aims. The oil extraction process, which will be developed, will be available to obtain oil and meals, therefore creating two products currently unavailable on the Italian market.
In the POR (Operational Regional Programme), CREA of Padua shall carry out out the following actions:
- Obtainement of cocoons from the silk production chain of the Venetian farmers, drying (even testing different systems), preparation and selection of cocoons for the following extraction of the pupae through cutting.
- Designing and building a prototype to cut the cocoons, preparation of a patent jointly with the building company.
- Bibliographic research useful to prepare a dossier on the food safety of the silkworm pupae for human nutrition.
The impacts at the end of the project are many:
- Companies of the cosmetics industry will have at disposal a new raw material of local and organic origin, with which they will be able to formulate their products.
- The silk chain will increase the level of income in different phases, from moriculture to the transformation industry, thanks to the valorisation of the grade 2 pupae (those inappropriate to silk obtainement), to the automation of some phases of the chain, and to the definition of a process of extraction of oil and meals. The study of the possible utilization of the product for food, in addition, might guarantee a further, important value to the chain, permitting to the food companies to take advantage of a new raw material with a high protein content, usable both for bakery and nutraceutical products.
- In the petfood industry the defatted and whole meals could be important protein sources. The meal could be used to formulate feeding with particular nutritional characteristics, for niche sectors and for feed intolerant animals. This product might constitute an alternative to the fish meal.
- All the productions, in addition, will be part of a circular economy, with low envinromental impact, capable of recovering traditional processes and using the territory in a sustainable manner, enriching the social aspect of the rural territory.
The project will be carried out by the following partnership:
- Cereal Docks Spa (lead partner)
- Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
- CREA – Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e Analisi dell’Economia Agraria
Centro di Ricerca per l’Agricoltura e Ambiente (CREA-AA) – Laboratorio di gelsibachicoltura di Padova
- Agripharma Società Cooperativa agricola
- Cantiere della Provvidenza SPA – Società Persona Ambiente, Società Cooperativa Sociale
Project funded by the POR FESR 2014-2020 of the Veneto Region
AXIS 1 ”RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION”
ACTION 1.1.4 “Support to collaborative activities of R&D to develop new sustainable technologies, of new products and services