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Development of a sustainable route for bioproduction of kojic acid using cocoa pod husks

Grant number: 23/09476-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2023
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Food Science and Technology - Food Engineering
Principal Investigator:Marcus Bruno Soares Forte
Grantee:Gabriel Zenatte Frugoli
Supervisor: Vinod Kumar
Host Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia de Alimentos (FEA). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Cranfield University, England  
Associated to the scholarship:22/13053-4 - Evaluation of Xylitol and Arabitol production from cocoa husk hydrolyzate using manipueira as an alternative source of nitrogen by unconventional yeasts, BP.MS


Kojic acid has garnered significant attention from the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry due to its antioxidative and positive effect on the skin. The cosmetic ingredients market has an estimated size of USD 23.6 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 4.1% of which kojic acid was USD 60 million in 2021 and it is anticipated to grow to approximately USD 75 million by 2030. Moreover, it is also employed as a food preservative. While glucose has proven to be the most efficient substrate for its production via microbial fermentation, relying solely on pure glucose for large-scale kojic acid manufacturing in the long run would not be appropriate due to feed versus food debate. Consequently, there is a need to explore alternative renewable substrates, particularly agricultural residues and industrial waste side streams. Cocoa pod husk contains abundant quantities of polysaccharides that upon pretreatment provides free hexoses and pentoses such as glucose, xylose and arabinose, making it a promising feedstock for biological kojic acid production. This project seeks to investigate and optimize the production of kojic acid from cocoa pod husks solid residue generated from the pretreatment, using process engineering approaches. By effectively utilizing the residue from chocolate industry, cocoa pod husk, this initiative aims to reintegrate this residue into the production chain, thereby generating value and mitigating improper disposal in the environment. (AU)

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