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By Realdyme
November 12,2012

This project is a collaborative project and has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA- Research Executive Agency under grant agreement n°314909 and under project acronym ADFIMAX.



ADFIMAX aims to improve liquid food safety, by removing mycotoxins and replacing the current filter aid (Kieselguhr) which is a known human carcinogen. This dual objective ensures that our technology will be suited to multi-industrial application; however, our primary target markets are the wine and beer sectors. Both consume large quantities of Kieselguhr and have an ongoing legal and commercial requirement to minimise toxin residues in their products.

At the heart of ADFIMAX is a new filter aid product developed in a precursor F7 project: DEMYBE. The ADFIMAX filter aid is based on an innovative treatment process applied to specific, natural, vegetable fibres. This new treatment enhances the fibres ability to preferentially adsorb toxic contaminants from beverages whilst improving their ability to act as a filter aid. Originally aimed at mycotoxin reduction in beer & wine, the technology has also demonstrated the capacity to remove pesticide residues with an efficiency that surpasses alternative methods.



The primary motivation for the preceding DEMYBE project was centred on the needs of liquid food producers to safely reduce or remove mycotoxin contaminants from everyday beverages. Mycotoxins are fungal secondary metabolites which have been subject to examination by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and are considered harmful for humans

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The secondary motivation of the preceding DEMYBE project has been to develop a suitable replacement for Kieselguhr (which consists mainly of the finely divided shells of siliceous fossil diatoms), which is currently the most common filter aid technology used in beverage filtration. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, an agency of the WHO) has classified Kieselguhr as carcinogenic to humans. There is therefore significant political and commercial pressure to find a suitable replacement for this material.

A number of highly promising baseline achievements have met or surpassed the expectations of the DEMYBE consortium and its end-user partners, and have acted as the catalyst for formation of the ADFIMAX consortium. These include :

(a) identification of new sources of natural fibre material with higher adsorption potential than original product (micronised wheat envelopes) and good aptitude to be used as a filter aid

(b) discovery, implementation and validation of a soft fractionation/purification method using water and ethanol, with the objective of enhancing the qualities of the filter aid. The fractionation method:
- improves the ability of the natural vegetable fibre raw material to adsorb mycotoxins and pesticides ;
- eliminates any bad taste and aroma impact which might otherwise be imparted by the fibres themselves to filtered liquid;

(c) attainment of the decontamination level objective - extraction of 80% OTA from wine and beer with 2g/litre of filter adjuvant:
- indeed, the target was surpassed in filtration trials, yielding up to 95% decontamination
- furthermore, the technology has proven capable of extracting pesticide residues, a feature of specific interest to wineries, where currently no solution with such properties is yet available;

(d) confirmation that the micronisation process is critical to further enhancing the adsorption capacity of the filter aid;

(e) full proof-of-concept of the ability of this filter aid prototype technology to be deployed in the filtration processes currently prevalent in the brewing and wine industry.


About ADFIMAX objectives

The demonstration work of ADFIMAX will now build on moving the R&D achieved to date, forwards from proof-of-concept to being an industrially-exploitable technology. The innovative filter aid technology which is the target of work proposed in the ADFIMAX project, is based on an innovative treatment applied to specific, natural, vegetable fibres followed by a micronisation process conceived by REALDYME (Project Coordinator-SME).

The highly promising starting base on which ADFIMAX will build, consists of three pillars which are vital for underpinning future commercial success. Specifically:

(a) a prototype filter aid technology using all natural material capable of attaining at least equally efficient filtering performance to that of Kielselguhr which is the main filter aid in use worldwide;

(b) the proof-of-concept of this prototype to reduce the level of various undesirable substances such as mycotoxins (Ochratoxine A-OTA) and pesticides present in the original liquid by at least 80%.

(c) the ability of this innovative filter aid to overcome health and environmental issues which are inherent in both the use and the disposal of Kieselguhr filter aids

Specific objectives for ADFIMAX are therefore:

(1) to confirm levels of decontamination and throughput filter performance on large scale tests.

(2) to promote adoption by industry of the new filter aid technology by demonstrating that production & supply of the ADFIMAX filter aid can be achievably scaled-up to be consistent with industrial levels of demand for the technology;

(3) to conduct demonstrations and establish proof-of-performance at 5 wine and beer production sites in different member states of the EU – an action which is crucial to support the industrial acceptability and eventual certification-for-use of ADFIMAX technology;

(4) to investigate appropriate business models for commercialisation of ADFIMAX. This includes the potential use of the innovative filter aid technology in other applications than wine and beer and in a form other than filter aid (filter sheets, filter cartridges,...);

(5) to investigate value of by-products resulting from the fractionation/purification treatment.