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How the  AcroAlliance project started


The interest on novel crops from local biodiversity for sourcing biobased products raised the attention of Brazilian research institutions on the macaúba palm. For more than a decade, the University of Hohenheim has jointly initiated research endeavours with prestigious institutions such as the Federal University of Viçosa and the Agronomic Institute of Campinas, who lead the domestication and advancement of this plant.


In 2019, the 1st International Acrocomia Workshop — Acrocomia plus: Latin America's plant diversity and its bioeconomic potential" took place at the University of Hohenheim, organized by the Acrocomia Hub. This resulted in an interdisciplinary network of researchers with the common vision of fostering sustainable macaúba value chains. Aligned to this goal, the AcroAlliance project was conceptualized by a consortium of researchers from the University of Hohenheim, the Federal University of Viçosa, the Agronomic Institute of Campinas, Fraunhofer IVV, the Instituto de Tecnologia de Alimentos (ITAL) in the frame of the call for projects 'Bioeconomy International 2021', a joint research initiative of the Brazilian and German governments.

Our goal is to support the development of Acrocomia value chains from the seed to high-value products for a global bioeconomy based on the sustainable use of local biodiversity.

Project structure

The AcroAlliance project will provide novel concepts for sustainable valorisation of local biodiversity in a multi-product biorefinery approach using the macauba palm as case study, and thus foster the transformation into sustainable bioeconomies in Brazil and Germany. The project integrates eight working packages (WP), ensuring a coverage from the seed to the end products.

Working packages (WPs)

WP1 deals with characterisation of progenies and identifies superior seed material. Its objectives are to (1) evaluate progenies from elite trees, (2) establish a certified Macauba seed orchard, and (3) assess possible genetic seed vulnerability due to the reduction of the genetic base.

WP2 deals with cropping systems and identifies best agricultural practices using a modeling approach. Its objectives are to (1) collect data on growth and yield performance of macauba, (2) develop and validate WaNuLCAS-Macauba, (3) test cropping scenarios, and (4) identify bottlenecks and indicate best agricultural practices for macuba.

WP5 tests novel products in cooperation with external industry partners and defines a product portfolio. Its objectives are to (1) assess the technological performance of obtained oils, fibers, and proteins in food and technical applications and (2) Demonstrate the technical and economical viability of the developed products

WP6 analyses the value web based on WP contributions and provides implementation strategies using a multicriteria approach. Its objectives are to (1) conceptualize a biobased value web based on the outcomes of the previous WPs. /2) perform a multicriteria analysis of the value web, and (3)identify sustainable business model and value chain development strategies. 

WP3 deals with post harvesting and identifies best post harvest and pre-processing strategies. Its objective is to provide post-harvest treatments to ensure maximum quality (functionality and sensory profile) for Macauba oils and meals

WP8 coordinates the project and organises activities among all AcroAlliance partners including progress monitoring, reporting, data management, internal communication, internal exchange, and decision and conflict, risk and contingency, as well as equal opportunity manegement 

WP4 deals with process optimization and provides a conceptual design of small-scale bio-refinery. Its objectives are to (1) refine oils from pulp and kernel, (2) obtain dietary fibers (PC) and protein concentrates/isolates (KC) for a Macauba-based functional systems, (3) optimize fractionation processes in terms of yield and product quality, (4) integrate optimized processes in a biorefinery concept, and (5) validate the integrated biorefinery in lab and small pilot scale.  

WP7 disseminates, communicates, and exploits project results and is responsible for stakeholder inclusion and involves all partners and WPs. Its objectives are (1) outreach to the public, (2) target dissemination to relevant stakeholders & policy makers, and (3) exploit results, enhance innovation capacity,  integrate new knowledge.

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