Focus: Advanced Tailored Oligosaccharides

The ATOL project focuses on the production and use of tailored oligosaccharides. Depending on their structure, oligosaccharides are known for their interesting bio-active properties such as prebiotic activity, anti-oxidant, anti-hypertensive, anticoagulant agent, plant elicitors etc.

Targeted Users

Because of these properties, they are immensely interesting to a great number of industries: the food industry (stabilizer, thickener), pharmaceuticals (absorbing & gelling agent, excipient), medical devices, the personal care industry (creams, lotions), the cardboard and paper industries. In addition, oligosaccharides can be grafted onto surfaces or used as tunable polar structure in biological, biodegradable and/or biocompatible dispersants.


The main objective of ATOL is to generate the knowledge base which will lead to the development of new pectin-derived functional ingredients. They can be used as building blocks for ingredients with techno-(bio)functional properties, which will improve human and animal health. Two specific objectives are: to gain insight in process-structure-function relations and to develop economically viable prototype processes and products. More specifically, the project focuses on developing such applications as feed additives and dispersants.

Action on Global Goals and SDGs

The project contributes to more healthy human food and animal feed. It contributes for instance to lowering dependency on antibiotics and to lower anti-microbial resistance by using healthier ingredients and units for ingredients which are of a natural, biobased origin.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 10/09/2017
Duration: 01/07/2018 – 30/06/2021
Total budget: €1.153.988
Subsidy: €947.717
Project Partners

Questions about this project? Please contact catalyst Martijn Mertens (


Particles In Flow: Development of Continuous Crystallization, Dispersion and Emulsion Processes for Tuneable (Sub)micron Particle Generation

Organic nano- and microparticles are very important in all kinds of industries, products and applications. Three examples of particles with a high added value for Flemish companies are: organic micron sized crystals of active pharmaceutical ingredients, nano dispersions of coating resins and microcapsules with active ingredients. Four companies have combined forces with three academic groups, with a proven track record in this field, to tackle problems associated with the production of these particles. Currently, batch reactors are used to produce the particles, but limitations in heat and mass transfer result in little control over the average particle size and particle size distribution and batch to batch variations. Higher standards maintained by the companies and their customers necessitate the industrial researchers to explore new and more robust technologies of particle synthesis. Upon executing this project, a large step in the direction of implementation of continuous processing technology in the Flemish nano- and microparticle production industry is taken.

The main advantages of continuous processing for these particles are:
  • tuneable particles size and smaller particle size distribution
  • control over crystal polymorphism and shape
  • on demand production of low quantities
  • less use of raw materials due to less out of specification production
  • less use of mixing energy and solvent in cleaning steps
  • scalability of processes
The PIF project aims to develop advanced (semi)-continuous processes to accurately control the average particle size, the particle size distribution and (polymorphic) shape of nano- and microparticles. A complementary team of experts uses fundamental knowledge of the properties of the various solid-liquid systems to study influences of mixing devices, fluid dynamic and interactions between particles mutually and between particles and reactor components. This knowledge is used to design continuous reactors at lab and pilot scale.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 26/10/2017
Duration: 01/11/2017 – 30/04/2020
Total budget: €1.780.259
Subsidy: €1.432.057
Project Partners