The company Hifas da Terra and the business organization of the canning sector Anfaco-Cecopesca collaborate in the NutriGen 4.0 project that aims to develop an intelligent and environmentally friendly industry that contributes to turning Galicia into a benchmark in healthy eating. The project has a budget of two million euros, co-financed with the Operational Program Feder-Galicia 2014-2020, and is part of the “Smart Factory” program called by the Galician Innovation Agency (Gain) of the Xunta de Galicia.
According to Arturo Rodríguez, the director of Innovation of Hifas da Terra, the project will allow optimizing production processes and obtaining new nutraceuticals, a line of products in which the company has been working for years and which consists of food supplements from of fungi, which help to prevent diseases or improve their treatment.
“NutriGen 4.0 takes advantage of the results of the previous R&D projects of Hifas de la #Terra in which we discovered that we lost potential in the strains of certain fungi, due to not knowing all the details of the production processes. This project tries to improve the automation of the production process and this is a field in which Anfaco’s experience is very important, ”says Rodríguez.
The project will allow the production of new secondary metabolites of several species of fungi from the collection that Hifas da Terra already has, applying control sensors and monitoring in real time, communication with warehouse control software, automated order management. production and automated quality analysis protocols.
For the development of the activities foreseen in the project, 4.0 tools had been used and a complete study will be carried out on a theoretical basis that will cover the entire process, using NIR and hyperspectral image from the input of raw material and monitoring of the product. Computational calculation tools, advanced mathematical simulation and Big Data will also be used for the study of fungal strains. In addition, a study of the safety and efficacy of the prototypes generated will be carried out and their potential for customization in humans will be analyzed in relation to their xenic profile.
This knowledge will serve to select the processes with the greatest industrial interest for their definitive implementation at the end of the project, improve the specificity of the proposed protocols and the commercialization of new formulas with optimized processes. “We are at the beginning of a project with which we started the end of 2020 and we hope to have a first product prototype in the last months of 2021 and be able to commercialize it in two or three years. Later, we will continue with the development of other products ”, points out the R&D director of the company Hifas da Terra.
NutriGen 4.0 had been developed in the facilities of the company in Bora (Pontevedra), where the pilot project will be carried out in highly technical rooms to later be able to move towards a validated production system. Rodríguez explains that R&D is a field in which Hifas da Terra has long experience and is currently working on several projects that are already obtaining results in collaboration with hospital centers of the Galician Health Service such as those in Ourense and Vigo.
The project has a budget close to two million euros and the first products will be able to be commercialized in two or three years
In the R&D department of the company they have very varied professional profiles, from laboratory technicians to biologists or veterinarians and also doctors and pharmacists who collaborate in research. The company investigates the role of fungi in the prevention and treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and autoimmune pathologies.
Hifas da Terra has a biotechnology center focused on research and innovation with a high degree of specialization in the development of nutraceuticals from medicinal mushrooms. For its part, Anfaco-Cecopesca is a private business association that represents nearly 250 companies in the marine and food sector. It has a technology center from which it provides high added value services to its associates.