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Developing disinfectant from coffee waste: a new research project at Jacobs University

disinfectant coffee waste
Nikolai Kuhnert is Professor of Chemistry at Jacobs University Bremen

BREMEN, Germany – It’s supposed to be more effective than previous products, more widely applicable and it will be obtained from plant waste such as coffee, quince or rhododendrons: researchers at Jacobs University Bremen aim to develop a new disinfectant in cooperation with the Bremen companies “ProPure – Protect” and “Just in Air”.

The Bremer Aufbau-Bank GmbH, a public bank of the Federal State of Bremen, promotes the research project. “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 together with his colleague Matthias Ullrich, Professor of Microbiology.

The duo has long been concerned with the antibacterial and antiviral effects of natural substances. 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 specialized 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 euros 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.

Coffee waste products contain various antibacterial substances to be used to obtain a disinfectant

“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,” explains 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.

About Jacobs University Bremen:

Studying in an international community. Obtaining a qualification to work on responsible tasks in a digitized and globalized society. Learning, researching and teaching across academic disciplines and countries. Strengthening people and markets with innovative solutions and advanced training programs.

This is what Jacobs University Bremen stands for. Established as a private, English-medium campus university in Germany in 2001, it is continuously achieving top results in national and international university rankings. Its more than 1,500 students come from more than 120 countries with around 80% having relocated to Germany for their studies. Jacobs University’s research projects are funded by the German Research Foundation or the EU Research and Innovation program as well as by globally leading companies.

For more information: www.jacobs-university.de