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KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) is currently by far the largest university in Belgium in terms of research funding and expenditure (€584 million in 2021). In the Times Higher Education ranking KU Leuven is ranked as the 14th European university, while in the Reuters Top 100 of the World’s most innovative institutions, KU Leuven has been listed as the first European university, for the fourth year in a row.
KU Leuven conducts fundamental and applied research in all academic disciplines with a clear international orientation. Three research groups of KU Leuven participate in the Triple-A-COAT project:
KUL-MICA (Microbial community behaviour & antimicrobials targeting communities) headed by Prof Hans Steenackers and where Triple-A-COAT scientific coordinator Dr Thijs Vackier is also based, studies microbial community behaviour and develops antimicrobial compounds targeting these communities. In Triple-A-COAT they provide their expertise on the 2-AI compounds, will evaluate antimicrobial/anti-biofilm activity of the resulting materials and coatings, and perform toxicity and various other tests.
KUL-SUSMAT (Sustainable Materials Lab) headed by Prof Wim Thielemans is located at the KU Leuven campus in Kortrijk, has almost two decades experience in the surface modification and assembly of nanocellulose materials. They are working on nanocellulose modification or functionalisation, and characterisation of the resulting chemical and physical properties with various advanced scientific instruments.
KUL-LOMAC (Laboratory of Organic and Microwave Assisted Chemistry) headed by Prof Erik Van der Eycken, developed the synthesis of the new 2-AI compounds and will scale up production as needed for the Triple-A-COAT project. They are also investigating how to improve adhesion of nanocellulose to different surfaces by linker compounds.
KU Leuven will also conduct the final demonstration of the coatings in the bus simulation booth, that will be constructed at the Leuven campus. KU Leuven Innovation Manager Dr Karin Thevissen is leading the Exploitation and IPR committee of the consortium.
Main contact person: Prof Hans Steenackers
Peeters E, Hooyberghs G, Robijns S, De Weerdt A, Kucharíková S, Tournu H, Braem A, Čeh K, Majdič G, Španič T, Pogorevc E, Claes B, Dovgan B, Girandon L, Impellizzeri F, Erdtmann M, Krona A, Vleugels J, Fröhlich M, Garcia-Forgas J, De Brucker K, Cammue BPA, Thevissen K, Van Dijck P, Vanderleyden J, Van der Eycken E, Steenackers HP. An antibiofilm coating of 5-aryl-2-aminoimidazole covalently attached to a titanium surface. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2019 Aug;107(6):1908-1919. Epub 2018 Dec 13. https://doi.org/10.1002/jbm.b.34283
Dieltjens, L., Appermans, K., Lissens, M. et al. Inhibiting bacterial cooperation is an evolutionarily robust anti-biofilm strategy. Nat Commun 11, 107 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13660-x
Blockx, J.; Verfaillie, A.; Deschaume, O.; Bartic, C.; Muylaert, K.; Thielemans, W. Glycine betaine grafted nanocellulose as an effective and bio-based cationic nanocellulose flocculant for wastewater treatment and microalgal harvesting, Nanoscale Adv., 2021, 3, 4133-4144. https://doi.org/10.1039/D1NA00102G
Gençer, A.; Schütz, C.; Thielemans, W. Influence of the Particle Concentration and Marangoni Flow on the Formation of Cellulose Nanocrystal Films, Langmuir 2017, 33, 1, 228-234. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b03724
Eyley, S. and Thielemans, W.; Surface modification of cellulose nanocrystals, 2014, 6, 7764-7779. https://doi.org/10.1039/C4NR01756K
Stellenbosch University is ranked as one of the top five research universities in Africa and has been included in the three top international rankings for the fifth consecutive year.
The participating BIOPEP research group headed by Prof Marina Rautenbach has expertise on antimicrobial peptides, self-sterilising coatings and high throughput assays. Prof Rautenbach received the prestigious award of South African Distinguished Woman Scientist (Physical and Engineering Sciences) in 2014.
The BIOPEP Group investigates mechanisms of action and structure-activity relationships of antimicrobial peptides and membrane active antibiotics, using both natural and novel synthetic compounds. Their laboratory also has a peptide synthesis, production and purification unit that provides a service to research collaborators and industry. BIOPEP is currently the only group in South Africa producing synthetic peptides, used in the health sector, agriculture and industry.
In Triple-A-COAT, SU provide their peptide complex in the required quantities for grafting or absorption to nanocellulose, and contribute to antimicrobial activity testing, and exploitation of results. (http://www.sun.ac.za)
Main contact person: Prof Marina Rautenbach
Rautenbach M, van Rensburg, W. Method for preventing or treating microbial growth on a manufactured product. (PCT patent application published as WO2015186058A1). National validations in South Africa (ZA2016/08601, Granted); China (CN106793774, Granted); Australia (AU2015270120 – Granted); USA (US15,315,755, Granted); European Patent Office (EPO) (EP3151667 – Granted) claiming priority from ZA 2014/04023 filed 3 June 2014, https://patents.google.com/patent/US10512271B2/en
Kumar V, Van Rensburg W, Snoep JL, Paradies HH, Borrageiro C, de Villiers C, Singh, R, Joshi KB, Rautenbach M*, (2023) Antimicrobial nano-assemblies of tryptocidine C, a tryptophan-rich cyclic decapeptide, from ethanolic solutions, Biochimie, 204, 22-32, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biochi.2022.08.017
Van Rensburg W, Rautenbach M.* (2022) Creating robust antimicrobial materials with sticky tyrocidines, Antibiotics, 11, 174, 1-19, https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics11020174
Van Rensburg W, Laubscher W. E., Rautenbach M.* (2021) High throughput method to determine the surface activity of antimicrobial polymeric materials, Methods X, 101593, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mex.2021.101593
Masoudi Y, Van Rensburg W, Barnard-Jenkins, B, Rautenbach M.* (2021) The influence of cellulose-type formulants on anti-Candida activity of the tyrocidines, Antibiotics, 10(5), 597, https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics10050597
Juhl DW, Van Rensburg W, Bossis X, Vosloo JA, Rautenbach M*, Bechinger B* (2019) Tyrocidine A interactions with saccharides investigated by CD and NMR spectroscopies, Journal of Peptide Science, 25 (5) 1-11, https://doi.org/10.1002/psc.3163
2.-0 LCA consultants is an internationally oriented consultancy company dedicated to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and related tools. The company was founded in 2000 and currently has 18 employees, most of them with a PhD and an established record in academic research.
2.-0 LCA initiate and take part in non-profit activities at the highest technical level, e.g.,in ISO, SETAC and UNEP. Past and current projects include EU projects from the FP7, H2020 and LIFE programmes, where 2.-0 LCA have applied their expertise to assess novel technologies in a wide variety of sectors, such as construction, wastewater treatment, biotechnology or solid waste management, among others.
The staff of 2.-0 LCA have played a central role in the development of the ecoinvent database, the most widely used source of data for LCA practitioners and professionals around the globe.
In Triple-A-COAT, 2.-0 LCA perform a full life cycle assessment (including environmental assessment) focusing on the environmental sustainability of our solutions and comparing them to conventional antimicrobial coating technology.
Main contact person: Dr Angelica Mendoza Beltran
Muñoz, I., Rodríguez, C., Gillet, D. et al. Life cycle assessment of chitosan production in India and Europe. Int J Life Cycle Assess 23, 1151–1160 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-017-1290-2
Muñoz I, de Vries E, Wittebol J, Aamand J (2015). Prospective environmental and economic assessment for biotreatment of micropollutants in drinking water resources in Denmark. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply 15(6):1405-1413. https://doi.org/10.2166/ws.2015.100
Co-developers of the EXIOBASE (https://www.exiobase.eu/): a global, detailed Multi-Regional Environmentally Extended Supply-Use Table (MR-SUT) and Input-Output Table (MR-IOT).
Muñoz I, Alonso-Madrid J, Menéndez-Muñiz M, Uhart M, Canou J, Martin C, Fabritius M, Calvo L, Poudelet L, Cardona R, Lombois-Burger H, Vlasopoulos N, Bouyssou C, Dirrenberger J, Papacharalampopoulos A, Stavropoulos P (2021). Life cycle assessment of integrate Additive-subtractive concrete 3D printing. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 112:2149-2159. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00170-020-06487-0
WW LCI: a tool to calculate life cycle inventories of chemical pollution in wastewater discharges (https://lca-net.com/projects/show/wastewater-lci-initiative/).
SIRRIS, a non-profit scientific research organization in Belgium, offers small and large companies three key assets to help them remain innovative and competitive: years of experience and comprehensive expertise in a wide range of industries; high-tech testing infrastructure spread across the country; and an extensive network of partners.
The SIRRIS Department for Innovations in Circular Economy assists companies to transform their products, production & business towards a circular economy with a focus on the industrial circular economy (CE) at large, the implementation of renewable materials and coatings (bio-based and recycled), the life-time extension of products and the inner circles of the CE.
SIRRIS is active in the field of materials & surface treatment for over 30 years and has extensive knowledge about development, upscaling, application & analysis of wet-chemical and ceramic coatings. SIRRIS operates state of the art equipment for mechanical & functional testing of coatings, accelerated tests for testing the durability of coatings and their functionalities in time. Apart from one-to-one client-projects, in the last 10 years, the coating lab has been involved in 12 national collective research projects and 10 European projects.
In Triple-A-COAT, SIRRIS are contributing to the developing of the coating application process and knowhow for coatings characterization.
Main contact person: Dr Patrick Cosemans
H. Taheri, P. Samyn, Effect of homogenization (microfluidization) process parameters in mechanical production of micro- and nanofibrillated cellulose on its rheological and morphological properties, Cellulose 23 (2016), 1221-1236. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-016-0866-5
V. Rastogi, P. Samyn, Reaction efficiency and retention of poly(styrene-co-maleimide) nanoparticles deposited on fibrillated cellulose surfaces, Carbohydrate Polym 141 (2016), 244-252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2016.01.018
V.K. Rastogi, D. Stanssens, P. Samyn, Mechanism for tuning the hydrophobicity of
microfibrillated cellulose films by controlled thermal release of encapsulated wax
Materials 7 (2014), 7196-7216. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7117196
C.P. Dunne, P.D. Askew, T. Papadopoulos, I.C. Gouveia, M. Ahonen, M. Modic, N.F. Azevedo, S.Schulte, P. Cosemans, A. Kahru, K. Murzyn, C.W. Keevil, M. Riool, M.M. Kein?nen-Toivola, Antimicrobial coating innovations to prevent infectious disease: a consensus view from the AMiCl COST Action, Journal of Hospital Infection 105, issue 2 (2020) 116-118. Published online 2020 Apr 9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2020.04.006
At a workshop within the COST AMICI project devoted to implications for cleaning
procedures on the application of antimicrobial coatings in healthcare settings, Sirris presented how to measure the durability of antimicrobial coatings. (http://videolectures.net/AMiCIworkshop2018_cosemans_health_care_application/)
CELLUGY is a SME based in Denmark developing production and applications of biocellulose or bacterial nanocellulose (BNC). The company has isolated >20 strains of BNC producing bacteria, that able to use wide ranges of carbon sources.
CELLUGY has been successfully producing BNC in standard fermenter with high productivity through metabolism optimization (non-GMO approach). This permits high production of BNC with different quality based on its crystallinities and degree of polymerization, suited to various applications.
CELLUGY is initially targeting the specialty fiber-based composites and personal care segments and is currently working to scale up production in preparation for the commercialization phase.
The CELLUGY team is female led with 10 staff from 8 different countries. The company has secured £2.34 m EU funding through SME instrument phase II and is entering into seed investment rounds shortly to fund its next stage of development.
Contributions to Triple-A-COAT include provision of BNC of various grades, coatings and film development, and exploitation, communication, and innovation-related activities.
Main contact person: Dr Deby Fapyane
Semi-finalists in the Microfiber Innovation Challenge by Conservation X Labs, 2021
Finalists in the Social Innovation Tournament by the European Investment Bank, 2021
Winner of the Groningen OPEN challenge launched by Cosun Beet Company (Groningen, The Netherlands).
Mentioned as one of 10 European startups developing plastic alternatives to watch as one of the Top 101 Biotech Companies in Denmark.
Melodea is an Israeli company pioneering the development of an economically viable industrial process for the extraction of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) from commercial bleached pulp from different pulp mills, including from Europe. Current industrial production capacity is above 10 tonnes/year.
At its own R&D center, Melodea also develops innovative CNC-based paints, coatings, and barriers for the packaging industry and other applications. Its facilities include a fully equipped coating lab (coating machines, drying, characterization of coating). Melodea has several patents regarding CNC production and applications.
In Triple-A-COAT, Melodea supplies its CNC product for use in the project, and contributes to work on functionalisation and coatings development.
Main contact person: Dr Yuval Nevo
Educell is an SME located in Slovenia, established 1997 that develops human cell therapies for treating patients and cell-based assays for preclinical evaluation of biomaterials.
Cell-based assays for cytotoxicity and functional testing are based on primary cell types isolated from human donors and not transformed cell lines, thus providing more relevant results. By employing primary human cells as test models also a principle of 3Rs “Replacement, Reduction and Refinement” is being followed.
Cell types used include mesenchymal stem cells from various sources, chondrocytes, osteoblasts, keratinocytes, fibroblasts and others.
In Triple-A-COAT, Educell contributes to toxicity testing using human cell assays.
Main contact person: Dr Ariana Barlič
Peeters E, Hooyberghs G, Robijns S, De Weerdt A, Kucharíková S, Tournu H, Braem A, Čeh K, Majdič G, Španič T, Pogorevc E, Claes B, Dovgan B, Girandon L, Impellizzeri F, Erdtmann M, Krona A, Vleugels J, Fröhlich M, Garcia-Forgas J, De Brucker K, Cammue BPA, Thevissen K, Van Dijck P, Vanderleyden J, Van der Eycken E, Steenackers HP. An antibiofilm coating of 5-aryl-2-aminoimidazole covalently attached to a titanium surface. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2019 Aug;107(6):1908-1919. https://doi.org/10.1002/jbm.b.34283
Gorgieva S, Girandon L, Kokol V. Mineralization potential of cellulose-nanofibrils reinforced gelatine scaffolds for promoted calcium deposition by mesenchymal stem cells. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2017 Apr 1;73:478-489. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2016.12.092
Naseri N, Deepa B, Mathew AP, Oksman K, Girandon L. Nanocellulose-Based Interpenetrating Polymer Network (IPN) Hydrogels for Cartilage Applications. Biomacromolecules. 2016 Nov 14;17(11):3714-3723. Epub 2016 Oct 25. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.6b01243
Peeters E, et al Modulation of the substitution pattern of 5-aryl-2-aminoimidazoles allows fine-tuning of their anti-biofilm activity spectrum and toxicity. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2016 Aug 22. pii: AAC.00035-16. https://doi.org/10.1128/aac.00035-16
Gerits E, et al. Antibacterial activity of a new broad-spectrum antibiotic covalently bound to titanium surfaces. J Orthop Res. 2016 Mar 22. https://doi.org/10.1002/jor.23238
Sappi is a global diversified woodfibre group focused on dissolving pulp, paper-based solutions and functional biomaterials. Sappi produces high-quality microcellulose (MFC) and nanocellulose (CNF) on a commercial scale, branded as Valida.
Valida is delivered in various forms fitting for industrial applications and everyday use in packaging, coating, construction, cosmetics, agriculture, and many others.
Sappi Biochemtech BV in The Netherlands is participating in Triple-A-COAT. Its pilot production facilities for Valida are supplying the CNF requirements of the project.
Main contact person: Dr Yanwu Zhou
Low energy method for the preparation of non-derivatized nanocellulose, WO 2014009517 A1.
Li, T., Chen, C., Brozena, A.H. et al. Developing fibrillated cellulose as a sustainable technological material. Nature 590, 47–56 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03167-7
Van Hool is an independent Belgian bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer, based in Koningshooikt. The company was founded in 1947 and celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2022. The vast majority of units produced are destined for Europe and the US. Van Hool has around 3,500 staff worldwide, the majority of whom work at the production facilities in Koningshooikt (Belgium) and Skopje (North Macedonia).
In Triple-A-COAT, Van Hool contribute to the design and build of the bus simulation booth, and generally contribute its perspectives as a lead end user.
Main contact person: Luc Verslegers
SuSoS AG, based in Dübendorf Switzerland, is a leading manufacturer and service provider in the domain of nano-scale surface technologies. The company was founded in 2004 by Dr. Samuele Tosatti (CEO) and Dr. Stefan Zürcher (CTO) as a spin-off from the ETH Zurich. SuSoS AG has in-house coating production facilities, and independently owns a unique combination of analytical methods, augmented by paid access to facilities at ETH Zurich and EMPA St. Gallen.
In Triple-A-COAT, SuSoS leads WP2, contributing its technology and expertise for coatings development and characterisation.
Main contact person: Dr Samuele Tosatti
Weydert S, Zurcher S, Tanner S, Zhang N, Ritter R, Peter T, Aebersold MJ, Thompson-Steckel G, Forró C, Rottmar M, Stauffer F, Valassina IA, Morgese G, Benetti EM, Tosatti S, Voros J. Easy to Apply Polyoxazoline-Based Coating for Precise and Long-Term Control of Neural Patterns. Langmuir. 2017 Sep 5;33(35):8594-8605. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b01437
A. Serrano, S. Zurcher, S. Tosatti and N. D. Spencer, Imparting Nonfouling Properties to
Chemically Distinct Surfaces with a Single Adsorbing Polymer: A Multimodal Binding
Approach. Macromol. Rapid Commun., 2016, 37, 622-629. https://doi.org/10.1002/marc.201500683
O. Sterner, M. Giazzon, S. Zurcher, S. Tosatti, M. Liley, N. D. Spencer, S. Zuercher, S. S. Tosatti, M. Liley and N. D. Spencer, Delineating Fibronectin Bioadhesive Micropatterns by Photochemical Immobilization of Polystyrene and Poly(vinylpyrrolidone), ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2014, 6,18683-18692. https://doi.org/10.1021/am5042093
A. Serrano, O. Sterner, S. Mieszkin, S. Zurcher, S. Tosatti, M. E. Callow, J. A. Callow and N. D.Spencer, Nonfouling response of hydrophilic uncharged polymers, Adv. Funct. Mater., 2013,23, 5706-5718. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.201203470
O. Sterner, A. Serrano, S. Mieszkin, S. Z?rcher, S. Tosatti, M. E. Callow, J. A. Callow and N. D.Spencer, Photochemically prepared, two-component polymer- concentration gradients,
Langmuir, 2013, 29, 13031-13041. https://doi.org/10.1021/la402168z
Imperial College London
Imperial College London is a science-based university with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, consistently rated amongst the World’s best universities (7th QS 2022).
The Department of Chemical Engineering has extensive research programmes in soft matter, surface design, and fluid mechanics.
Prof João Cabral leads the Soft Matter Engineering theme, holds a P&G/Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) Research Chair in formulation engineering, and is associate director of the Institute of Molecular Science and Engineering with a major focus on smart antimicrobial surfaces.
Prof Cabral’s experimental soft matter group has extensive experience in polymer solution structure and thermodynamics (including cellulose and derivatives), rheology, film deposition and patterning, and process scale-up, in collaboration with industrial partners.
Main contact person: Prof João Cabral
A Chiche, CM Stafford, JT Cabral. Complex micropatterning of periodic structures on elastomeric surfaces, Soft Matter 4 (12), 2360-2364 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1039/B811817E
– reports the emergence of surface topography via a mechanical instability with tuneable amplitude, dimensions and spatial order, including linear and labyrinthine structures, employing a facile, simple, and scalable surface treatment.
CG Lopez, SE Rogers, RH Colby, P Graham, JT Cabral. Structure of Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose aqueous solutions: A SANS and rheology study. J. Polym. Sci. B: Pol. Phys. 53, 492?501 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1002/polb.23657
reports the molecular conformation of NaCMC, a semiflexible, weak, anionic, and water soluble polymer – the most used polyelectrolyte cellulose derivative – and the link between solution structure and rheology, relevant for its practical application, in particular in films.
HC Wong, AM Higgins, AR Wildes, JF Douglas, JT Cabral. Patterning polymer-fullerene nanocomposite thin films with light. Advanced Materials 25 (7), 985-991 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201203541 reports an approach enabling the spatial control of nanocomposite films and impact in 3d topography
A Vitale, MG Hennessy, OK Matar, JT Cabral. A unified approach for patterning via frontal photopolymerization. Advanced Materials 27 (40), 6118-6124 (2015) https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201502607 – a comprehensive theoretical and modelling study for the deposition and patterning of a wide range of materials via light induced polymerisation, extensively used in 3d printing.
L Pellegrino, S Khodaparast, JT Cabral. Orthogonal wave superposition of wrinkled, plasma-oxidised, polydimethylsiloxane surfaces. Soft Matter 16 (3), 595-603 (2020) https://doi.org/10.1039/C9SM02124H reports the design of surfaces by superposition of waves (generating by buckling) that lead to the formation of spiky and multiaxial patterns with significant antibacterial response.
Virology Research Services
Recognising the need for a UK-based contract research organisation focused on viruses, Chiara Mencarelli PhD and Michela Mazzon PhD founded Virology Research Services (VRS) in 2017. VRS began through the University College London Consultancy Scheme and was incorporated as a limited company in 2018. Since then VRS has served over 200 clients worldwide. VRS’ clients include Big Pharma, biotech, industry, and academia.
VRS provide a broad range of services, including accredited ISO testing, high-throughput antiviral screening, and bespoke services, and work with a wide variety of BSL2 and BSL3 viruses, including Sars-Cov-2 where required. Core of the VRS business model is the continuous development and optimisation of novel and informative assays to support the needs of scientists involved in the development of life-changing antiviral products.
In Triple-A-COAT, VRS undertake testing of antiviral activity of the functionalised nanocellulose coatings.
Main contact person: Dr Michela Mazzon
Engedi Science Ltd
Engedi Science Ltd is a small consultancy company based in the north of England, providing support for collaborative research: research and innovation strategy, proposal development, project management and administration, and science communication activities. Its founder and director Michael Baldwin has 25 years’ experience working on EU research projects. Clients from across Europe include large companies, SMEs, and well-known research organizations and universities.
The company’s work on dissemination and communication activities, includes editing of manuscripts, conference reports, websites, social media, press releases, and stakeholder engagement.
In Triple-A-COAT, Engedi Science leads communication and stakeholder engagement activities within WP6, including project publicity, video, website and social media development.
Working on the project are Michael Baldwin (WP6 leader) and Heather Chiles (science communication assistant managing the project social media).
Main contact person: Michael Baldwin