Researchers at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany aim to develop a new disinfectant using plant waste such as coffee.
The research aims to create a disinfectant that’s more effective and widely applicable than previous products.
“We can apply our many years of research to an important topic that has become increasingly prominent with the corona crisis,” says Chemistry Professor Nikolai Kuhnert. He is leading the project at Jacobs University with his colleague Matthias Ullrich, Professor of Microbiology.
The duo has long been concerned with the antibacterial and antiviral effects of natural substances. They say coffee waste products contain various antibacterial substances.
“For example, we will use the outer skin of the coffee bean. It is removed before roasting and accumulates as waste at the roasting companies in Bremen,” says Kuhnert. The researchers also want to use compounds made from the remains of quince and rhododendrons. This way the scientists' many years of research will result in a practical product. “And it will be green, organic and sustainable,” says Kuhnert.
The research is being held in cooperation with Bremen companies ProPure – Protect and Just in Air, and with funding from the Bremer Aufbau-Bank, a public bank of the Federal State of Bremen.
The contact to the two Bremen-based companies was established through a television report about their research on rhododendrons. ProPure – Protect and Just in Air are specialised in hygiene processes in the food industry. Among other things, they have developed technologies that allow the spraying of disinfectants during the production process while people are working.
As part of its Applied Environmental Research funding program, the Bremer Aufbau-Bank is supporting the project with €100,000 (about US$113,000) over a period of two years. The aim is not only to increase the effectiveness of the disinfectant, but also to further develop the technology. Thus, for example, spraying in airplanes, public transport or hospitals during operation is to become possible.
Images: Jacobs University