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Biotico has received a Star Alumni award for the amount of positive progress they made during the course of Seedbed Incubator programme.

Biotico operates in food and beverage processing to produce organic waste, such as spent coffee ground and malt pulp after the manufacturing processes.

What is your innovation, and who does this help?

BIOTICO is a biotechnology startup that focuses on converting industrial organic wastes that pollute the nature into enzymes needed by the industry. We have innovated the biotechnology to produce enzymes from organic wastes without adding more extraction and expensive steps on top of the regular enzyme production protocols. This has prevented creating more environmental pollution due to organic waste.

What is the problem you are solving?

The disposal of waste is closely related to sustainability, the world economy, and human health. The most important way to reduce waste is to reduce our usage of the planet’s resources.

Resource reduction is achieved through changes in food production and our product choice – e.g. how we consume. We can reduce the quantity or toxicity of waste before it becomes municipal waste. The re-use of products is another means of resource reduction. Through these actions we can minimize climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and indirectly saving energy.

The decomposition of organic wastes in nature requires a large amount of oxygen, and their storage poses a risk due to their decay. The most important problem encountered in the production processes of enzymes is the production cost. The biggest cost of bioprocesses is the carbon resources used. Therefore, processes in which bioengineering principles and green production technologies are used together have gained great importance.

The development of sustainable and economical processes depends on lowering operational costs.

To solve these problems, we transform coffee waste into high value-added enzymes. Converting coffee waste with high oil, sugar and nitrogen content into imported enzymes prevents environmental pollution, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and plays a major role in reducing the import burden. Thanks to the green technology we use, the organic components of the coffee waste are converted into high value-added enzymes by our microorganisms without using an extraction step.

How does this help to make the food system more healthy, sustainable and trusted?

Worldwide, 1.5 billion tons of organic waste are generated every year. One of them is coffee waste. Cultivated in 80+ countries, coffee is also one of the largest commodities on the global market.

According to the National Coffee Organization, annual coffee consumption in the world is approximately 10 million tonnes, while it is 250 thousand tonnes in Turkey. This waste is thrown away due to the high disposal cost. When it decomposes, it causes serious greenhouse gas emissions. Each tonne of coffee waste causes 340 m3 CH4 emission and 2470 m3 CO2 emission. In addition, coffee waste pollutes the soil and groundwater due to its rich oil content.

Our world is under a growing threat every day. Unfortunately, we are not able to produce as much as we consume. We have consumed a year’s resource that nature has given us in just 7 months. The disposal of the wastes generated as a result of this consumption and even their reuse is essential for a strong economy and a sustainable life. We expect that the awareness on this issue will increase with the effects of the European Green Deal and the shaping of the regulations.

What makes you passionate about your startup?

In industrial uses, enzymes are vital for the biodegradation of polymeric compounds. The demand for enzymes will increase day by day by companies that want to dispose of and recycle their wastes or by-products without harming the environment.

We aim to alleviate the import burden of companies in the enzyme market where there are not enough domestic players. The fact that these scientific studies are intended to directly or indirectly serve the United Nations’ Global Development Goals, especially the zero waste project, is our biggest motivation for wanting to commercialize our scientific studies.

Currently, what are your biggest challenges, and how has the Seedbed Incubator programme helped you to overcome these?

As a startup with a B2B business model getting insights from the sectors we aim to enter and learning the technical details and usage rates of equivalent products was very important to verify the product-market fit.

The EIT Food Seedbed Incubator Program has helped us bridge the gap between industry, academia and non-governmental organisations. As a startup, we have developed our business model and product performance thanks to the network and mentoring support. At the end of the Seedbed Incubator training we also learned more about measuring our social impact and market entry strategies.

What were the highlights of the programme?

We had the chance to meet and discuss food problems with people from different countries. Having the same concerns made us more hopeful about being able to develop a more liveable world for the next generation. Through the training we received, we could understand the gaps in our business and the possible solutions. The peer-to-peer meetings were also very useful.

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