CTAEX (http://www.ctaex.com/) is a private non-for-profit R&D centre located in the region of Extremadura, south-west of Spain. Backed by an association of SMEs, large companies and co-operatives from the agro-food sector, the activities of CTAEX began in 2001. Certified as Technological Centre and as Research Results Transfer Centre, CTAEX has acquired vast expertise in the development of R&D Projects at national level, being declared of Public Utility by the Spanish Administration in 2011. These are the grounds that motivate CTAEX to internationalize its operations and with this purpose, CTAEX keeps on working today, aiming at improving the competitiveness of the European agro-food sector from a market-oriented approach.
CTAEX comprises 7 departments each of them with their own expertise, facilities and equipment but working together in achieving common objectives.
CTAEX´s Agricultural Department has at its disposal green houses and 23 hectares of experimental farms (“ECO” certified among them) indicated for pot trials and large scale cultivation. The R&D lines of this Dept. cover a wide variety of experiences such as:
Previous studies have been carried out over fruit and vegetable raw materials such as:
- Aromatic and medicinal plants: More than 60 species already domesticated.
- Horticultural crops: Especially processed tomato.
- Olive grove: Both for the production of olive oil and table olives.
CTAEX´s Food Technology Department is equipped with both: facilities and machinery, that make it possible to cover a great variety of industrial food products elaboration processings at pilot scale. Assets of this department can be found in:
- A pilot plant
- A experimental kitchen
- Chambers for shelf life studies and ripening and curing processes
- A sensory evaluation lab
- Vacuum, Aseptic, and Modified Atmosphere Packaging
And pilot lines for the processing of:
- fruit & vegetables
- meat & fish
- tomato concentrate
- dairy products
- table olives and olive oil
- ready-to-eat food stuff
For its part, the Engineering Department provides consultancy with regards to the machinery involved in agro-food products elaboration processes, including optimization of specific stages through the design and implementation of key equipment modifications. Another R&D line of this department can be found in the environmental assessment of industrial processes, with special relevance to the management and energetic valorisation of the waste.
CTAEX´s Analytical Department main expertise lies in the extraction, isolation, and purification of chemically interesting compounds found in vegetable raw materials, aromatic and medicinal plants and industrial agro-food residues and by-products. Provided with equipment such as a pilot scale Soxhlet extractor or bioreactor and highly specialized in the assessment of agro-food matrixes from both: physic-chemical and microbiological procedures, the department focuses in the characterization of novel chemical compounds with agriculture, food, feed and cosmetic applications.
Apart from the technical development of an R&D Project, CTAEX could carry out the Project Results Dissemination through its Office for Research Results Transfer Activities. The Technology Transfer Office meets the following objectives: popularization of scientific and technological research results generated in CTAEX and associated enterprises, Technological Surveillance for companies and institutions from the Agriculture and Food sectors, protection of research results and commercialization of technologies. Up to date, the Office for Research Results Transfer Activities has directly participated in 33 R&D Projects via: workshops, press releases, media appearances (http://www.youtube.com/user/otrictaex), scientific publications and CTAEX´s webpage and weekly newsletter. The previous are means of dissemination that mostly reach SMEs and stakeholders in the agro-food sector.
Each of the aforementioned five departments works together in the production and transference of knowledge while guided and supported by the General, Project and Quality Management departments.
Up to date, CTAEX has successfully developed more than 250 regional and national private and public projects. The national expansion undergone by the Centre has led to its internationalization. Most important European where CTAEX has participated may be found among the following:
- INPROFOOD (FP7-Science in Society´11). Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations (http://www.inprofood.eu/).
- BIOCOPAC (FP7-SME-2011-BSG-SME). Development of bio-based coating from tomato processing wastes intended for metal packaging (http://www.biocopac.eu/en/).
- SATIN. (FP7-KBBE.2011.2.3-04) Satiety control through food structures made by novel processing (http://www.satin-satiety.eu/).
- SAVECROPS (LIFE + 2011). Polivalent Biocides from local wastes (http://ctaex.com/savecrops-life/).
- MULTIHEMP (FP7-KBBE-2012-6-singlestage). Multipurpose Hemp for industrial bioproducts and biomass (http://www.multihemp.eu/project/)
- Value4Wool (CIP-EIP-Eco-Innovation-2011). Market Umbrella for the utilisation of low grade grease sheep wool as organic soil amendment and fertilizer (http://value4wool.ifn-group.de/).
- INTEGRALCARBON (LIFE2013). Development and global enforcement of GHG capture photo-bioreactors in agro-industrial activities. (http://www.integralcarbon.eu/)
- MITTIC (POCTEP 2012). Technological Modernisation and Innovation based on ICT in strategic and traditional sectors. http://mittic.gobex.es/index.php?pagina=&idioma=en)
- VICTORIA (EEA GRANTS 2014). Nuevos vidrios fertilizantes para cultivo del tomate reduciendo el impacto ambiental http://www.lux-fit.com/victoria-project/
- NPTLCT (ERA-Net Plus BESTF) Demonstration by WSPCEL of Nova Pangaea Technologies’ Lignocellulosic Conversion Technology
- iCirBus4Industries (LIFE2014). Innovative circular business on energy, water, fertilizer & construction industries, towards a greener regional economy
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